2015 News Releases
December 21, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – At Governor Matt Mead’s direction, Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael sent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy a Petition for Reconsideration of EPA’s Final Rule on Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources. The Petition was submitted this afternoon via email as well as by overnight mail.
“This rulemaking has been flawed from the very beginning. The Final Rule is the result of an unfair process – it has both procedural and substantive deficiencies,” said Governor Mead. “I am directing the Attorney General to use every tool in the legal toolbox to stop this arbitrary and extremely harmful Rule.”
In the petition, the State argues the Final Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act and the Final Rule is fundamentally different from the Proposed Rule, significantly and adversely affecting the State, without giving fair opportunity to comment. The Final Rule, therefore, should be reopened and reconsidered.
The Petition and supporting documents sent to EPA Administrator McCarthy will be available on the Attorney General’s website.
December 2, 2015
Governor Mead Releases Proposed Budget
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead released details of his 2017-2018 biennial budget and spending reductions for fiscal year 2016 (FY16). State revenue projections have decreased due to falling oil and natural gas prices and the market and regulatory difficulties faced by the coal industry. Governor Mead asked state agencies to prioritize their budgets and limit exception requests. Exception requests are for urgent needs and special projects beyond the standard budget.
The FY16 revenue shortfall is approximately $159 million. Governor Mead identified unspent appropriations for projects where funds are not immediately necessary and set them aside. By taking this action, he balanced the budget for the current year without drawing any money from elsewhere.
“With the slump in the energy sector, the revenue decline comes as no surprise,” said Governor Mead. “We have prepared well for this situation, and Wyoming has benefitted from a conservative fiscal policy.”
The Governor’s 2017-2018 budget reduces the standard budget by $18.7 million. With that reduction, there is more than enough revenue available for operating expenses for the next biennium. The budget reflects Governor Mead’s priorities – education, infrastructure, economic drivers and local governments. The Governor proposes borrowing from the rainy day account, which stands at about $1.8 billion, to further these priorities and put Wyoming in a good position to weather the energy downturn. It is projected the account would be made whole with investment income and the statutory diversion by the next biennium. The Governor also recommends expanding Medicaid to help currently uninsured citizens as well as reduce the Department of Health budget.
“My budget incorporates strategic reductions while still providing the services that our citizens rely on and the projects needed for continued growth,” Governor Mead continued. “These are difficult times for many in our state who have personally felt the effects of the depressed energy market. My budget helps local governments satisfy their obligations and invests in long-term economic growth for the state. We have challenges, but I feel confident in our ability to meet those challenges.”
The entire budget is available at: http://ai.wyo.gov/budget-division/budget-fiscal-years/2017-2018
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Today, Governor Matt Mead received the 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). The Governor was recognized for his commitment to conservation and the outdoors as was Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri.
“I am honored to receive this award. To join the distinguished list of recipients, which goes back to 1989 and includes a President of the United States, is a privilege indeed,” said Governor Mead. “Being a Wyoming outdoor enthusiast all my life, I must say that supporting our state’s wonderful recreation and conservation causes comes naturally and easily. It is one of the great joys of serving as Governor.”
Governor Mead’s support through proclamations and events for Great Outdoors Month, hosting the inaugural Wyoming Capitol Campout and his leadership efforts in organizing the Cowboy Tough Adventure Race, were all highlighted as reasons for the award.
“The recreation community is indebted to Governor Mead. He champions the role recreation plays in healthy lifestyles and sustainable, vibrant local economies. He finds time for recreation in his busy life and unites and cheers recreation community leaders in Wyoming, a state where the great outdoors is a way of life. Governors Mead and Nixon demonstrate that recreation enjoys the support of the nation’s leaders from both political parties and in all regions,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall.
ARC has presented the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors award since 1989 to an individual whose personal efforts have contributed substantially to enhancing outdoor experiences in America. The award was established in memory of Sheldon Coleman (1901-1988), longtime Chairman of The Coleman Company and a visionary champion of outdoor recreation and conservation. Winners are selected by recreation and conservation leaders from both the private and public sectors.
“Outdoor recreation is part of a healthy lifestyle for kids and adults. It brings families and friends together and provides memories that last a lifetime. It nourishes the body and soul. I hope everyone – residents and visitors alike – can experience the Great Outdoors in Wyoming this coming year. I cannot thank the American Recreation Coalition enough for this recognition,” Governor Mead added.
November 17, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- Governor Matt Mead released the following statement regarding the refugee issue:
"No state should have to endure the threat of terrorists entering our borders," Governor Mead said. "The President needs to make certain an absolutely thorough vetting system is in place that will not allow terrorists from Syria or any other part of the world into our country. In light of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, I have joined other governors in demanding the refugee process be halted until it is guaranteed to provide the security demanded by Wyoming and United States citizens. I have written the President (letter attached) to make it known Wyoming will not accept a lackluster system that allows terrorists to slip through the cracks."
Governor Mead and other governors have a conference call with the President this afternoon.
October 26, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead outlined his plan to deal with the revenue shortfall reported today by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) report. The CREG projections are the basis for budget recommendations.
“Today’s CREG reduces projected revenue for the 2015-2016 biennium and affects the remainder of the 2016 fiscal year appropriations,” said Governor Mead. “The CREG also projects lower revenue for the 2017-18 biennium. The projection for the present fiscal year – FY 2016 – requires me to reduce appropriations to ensure spending does not exceed projected revenue. By state law, we cannot overspend.”
The reductions for FY 2016 will come from agency budgets and restrictions on major project accounts. When building the 2015-2016 budget, more than $109 million was set aside. These funds are known as the statutory budget reserve. They are a safeguard for this very situation. They, too, can be used to address the 2016 revenue shortfall.
Budget recommendations for the 2017-18 biennium are being developed now. Governor Mead’s budget priorities are as follows:
· Investment in state and local governments. This investment keeps communities strong.
· Investment in education. This investment in our youth helps Wyoming stay competitive now and in the future.
· Investment in economic opportunities. This investment diversifies our economy, provides jobs for Wyoming people and supports our major industries – energy, tourism and ag.
· State programs necessary for our most vulnerable populations.
“The Legislature has been my partner in fiscal planning from my first day in office,” continued Governor Mead. “We have worked on fiscal policy that grows Wyoming’s economy, creates opportunities, and allows us to move steadily forward in all revenue climates. We have established and grown savings and permanent funds. We must steer a steady course now as we navigate a period of diminished revenue.”
October 23, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead has directed the Attorney General to join a coalition of states in challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule, which was published in the Federal Register Friday morning and therefore finalized. The final rule imposes a 44% carbon emission reduction requirement on Wyoming – more than doubling the 19% reduction in the agency’s proposed rule.
Today, Wyoming joined 23 states in asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review and strike down the rule. The coalition of states, in a separate filing, will request the D.C. Circuit to issue a stay of the rule. A stay would halt any implementation of the Clean Power Plan during litigation.
“I have said from the get-go that this rule is legally and scientifically flawed. We do not believe EPA has the authority for this rule,” said Governor Mead. “The fact that the agency more than doubled the damage to Wyoming in the final rule shows arbitrary and capricious action.”
Wyoming will also independently file a petition with EPA to reconsider the rule in light of state- specific issues.
October 8, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today that the Integrated Test Center (ITC) will be built at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Dry Fork Station near Gillette, WY. The ITC will provide space for researchers to develop commercially viable uses for carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. A construction date has not been set.
“We are making an investment in the future of coal. The research at the ITC will lead to new opportunities in petrochemicals and other commercial uses for carbon dioxide,” said Governor Mead. “We lead the nation in coal production. This facility allows us to provide the same leadership in research and to do all we can to make sure the coal industry can continue to serve Wyoming and the country for many years to come.”
In 2014, the Wyoming Legislature approved Governor Mead’s request for $15 million in state funds to build and operate the ITC provided $5 million in private matching funds were secured. Those funds have been pledged by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. In addition, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association has pledged $1 million.
“I want to thank our partners at Tri-State Generation, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Basin Electric for their generous support. I also want to thank Rocky Mountain Power and Black Hills Power for their efforts to make this day a reality,” continued Governor Mead. “I’m thrilled to announce as well that XPRIZE Foundation will be the first tenants in the ITC. Their recent announcement of the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is intended to foster a global competition and innovation in carbon technology.”
Representatives from Basin Electric, the UW School of Energy Resources and the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority joined the governor in making the announcement.
“We’re excited to be part of this project,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager. “When we built Dry Fork Station, we built it with the hope and intention of one day having the opportunity to test and potentially help advance coal technologies. That day has arrived, and the foresight our members and staff had in building a coal facility that could be used in this capacity further exemplifies their dedication to innovation and the continued use of coal, a vital part of our nation’s energy infrastructure, well into the future.”
“The construction of the ITC demonstrates to the world Wyoming’s commitment to coal and the state’s leadership in being a part of the technology solution,” said Mike Easley, Chairman of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. “Virtually every projection shows coal use growing globally and the ITC aims to prove that technology can improve coal’s environmental footprint. We have a real opportunity to take the CO2 from coal emissions and transform them from a liability into valuable products.”
September 30, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. - United States District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl has granted Wyoming and Colorado’s request for a preliminary injunction on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. The injunction prevents the BLM’s rule from taking effect until the states’ cases have been fully resolved.
“Today’s decision supports Wyoming’s position– Congress has addressed hydraulic fracturing and precluded federal regulation of it,” Governor Mead said. “Wyoming has sound and responsible rules for hydraulic fracturing – those rules have been in place for years. I will continue to work with the Attorney General as this case moves forward.”
September 28, 2015
CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead will travel to Washington, D.C. this week to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources and the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife. Governor Mead will discuss the Endangered Species Act before the Senate. He will address state authority and expertise in resource management and energy development before the House. Governor Mead is Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and is leading a delegation of other governors to Washington, D.C.
“This is an opportunity for Western Governors to share insights directly with Congress,” said Governor Mead. “Western Governors have particular expertise in natural resources. We continue to work with our Congressional delegations on these issues.”
Governor Mead will first testify before the Senate subcommittee on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time. The topic will be: “Improving the Endangered Species Act: Perspectives from the Fish and Wildlife Service and State Governors.” The Governor will then testify before the House committee on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time. The topic will be: “Respecting State Authority, Responsibilities and Expertise Regarding Resource Management and Energy Development.”
“The Endangered Species Act is broken and changes need to be made. I am confident we can work with environmental groups and others to improve the Act,” Governor Mead said. “There are also numerous ways the federal government can better engage with states and Western Governors will address them.”
September 22, 2015
Mead praised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) announcement today
that the Greater sage-grouse will not be listed under the Endangered Species
Act. The Governor joined the Secretary of the Department of the Interior Sally
Jewell and USFWS Director Dan Ashe for the announcement in Denver.
Wyoming has aggressively worked for more than a decade to prevent the sage-grouse from being listed. In July, Governor Mead updated an earlier Executive Order that protects core areas of grouse habitat.
"Many diverse interests worked together and this was the key to our success,” Governor Mead said. "This plan should serve as an example for other states that face challenges with the Endangered Species Act."