2016 News Releases

Governor Mead Submits Comments on Southwest Wyoming Natural Gas Project

posted Aug 30, 2017, 2:18 PM by David Bush   [ updated Aug 30, 2017, 2:19 PM ]

August 30, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released its draft environmental review of the Normally Pressured Lance (NPL) natural gas project in southwest Wyoming. The NPL Project anticipates drilling up to 3,500 natural gas wells, which will produce over 5 trillion cubic feet of gas and create more than 700 full-time jobs.

“This is significant for Wyoming,” Governor Mead said. “Permitting new oil and gas projects is a priority and NPL is a great opportunity.”

In his letter to BLM, the Governor encouraged the agency to “…issue its Record of Decision by the end of the year to avoid further costly delays that negatively affect the State’s economic prosperity."

In addition to NPL, the Record of Decision for the Continental Divide-Creston was completed last September, giving preliminary authorization to develop up to 8,950 wells in the Wamsutter area. Other oil and gas development projects undergoing federal review include the Converse County project, the Greater Crossbow project and the Moneta Divide project.

Governor Mead’s letter to the BLM on NPL is available on his website:


Governor Mead Appoints New State Geologist

posted Aug 30, 2017, 2:07 PM by David Bush   [ updated Aug 30, 2017, 2:08 PM ]

August 25, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today that he has appointed Erin Campbell of Laramie as the new Wyoming State Geologist and Director of the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS). Campbell replaces Tom Drean who is retiring after leading the WSGS for the past six years.

She currently works at WSGS as the Manager of Energy and Minerals Resources and will officially take over as director on November 21. Along with heading the WSGS, the Director serves on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) and the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG).

“Tom has been an effective leader for the agency and a valued member of the WOGCC and CREG,” said Governor Mead. “I thank him for his exemplary service to Wyoming and wish him all the best.”

"Serving as the State Geologist and Director of the Geological Survey has been a dream job given the geologic wonderland that Wyoming is,” said Drean. “It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the Governor and the State of Wyoming and I am forever thankful to those I have had the pleasure of working with. Wyoming is blessed to have such great people."

Erin Campbell has a B.A. in Geology from Occidental College in Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Wyoming. Prior to working at WSGS, she worked for Chevron and as a lecturer at UW. She is the first woman to be named State Geologist.

“Erin’s experience and her knowledge of Wyoming are impressive. I am confident she will do a great job leading the agency,” said Governor Mead.

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to serve as Wyoming State Geologist. I plan to continue Tom Drean’s good work and carry the Survey into the future maintaining steady focus on the needs of the state,” said Campbell.


Cutting Red Tape: Regulatory Reform in Wyoming

posted Aug 8, 2017, 1:24 PM by David Bush   [ updated Aug 8, 2017, 1:24 PM ]

August 8, 2017

By Governor Matt Mead

If we need to know whether municipal landfills must be tested for groundwater contamination or if hunters with physical disabilities can hunt from stationary vehicles or whether importers can bring one-hump camels into the state, the answers should not be buried in government regulations.  Regulations should be easily available, understandable and assist us in complying.  When rules and regulations are obscure, overly complicated or difficult to find, state government is not doing its job.  Rules that do not serve the public interest should be rooted out.  Fewer and more clear-cut rules reduce the burden on people and businesses, while accomplishing their goal. 

In 2013, as part of my commitment to streamline government, I asked state agencies to reduce existing rules by one-third in number and one-third in length.  Regulations should be limited to those that are necessary and effective.  I urged agencies to use more precise, plain language, and to eliminate rules that no longer served their original purpose.  Wyoming has made major progress.  Most agencies have reduced rules by the one-third in the number and length.  Many agencies have been able to eliminate fifty percent or more of their regulations.  This means simpler, more accessible rules -rules necessary to do business and provide protection without the excess. 

Another success of this initiative is the creation of a new administrative rules website maintained by the Secretary of State’s Office and found at  In years past, searching for state rules could be like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Determining which agency maintained which rules was time consuming and laborious.  This website makes it easy to find current, proposed and past rules.  As an example, if you need to find rules on public swimming pool health and safety, a simple and swift key word search on the new website leads to the Department of Agriculture’s regulations on the subject.  All administrative rules and rules history are searchable online and available to anyone.  Public comment on proposed rules may be made directly using the public comment link on the website.  

Uniform rules have been adopted for actions that are common among various agencies.  Contested cases are one example.  Historically, each agency had agency specific contested case rules.  One agency might allow 45 days to file an objection, another agency 30 days.  The lack of uniformity and consistency was confusing.  Now uniform rules apply to contested case practice and procedure.  Another good illustration is public records requests.  Agencies receive many requests under the Wyoming Public Records Act ranging from correspondence on homelessness to grizzly bear and gray wolf management. Procedures varied widely agency to agency.  Now, uniform rules on procedures and fees related to inspection, copying and production of public documents are being adopted by agencies.  This will provide greater accountability, easier access and more effective protections. 

As for landfills, disabled hunters and one-hump camels, a few clicks on the state’s new rules website reveals that every municipal landfill is tested for groundwater contamination, hunters with physical disabilities may obtain permits to shoot wildlife from stationary vehicles not located on public roadways, and disease free camels may legally roam the Wyoming plains and prairie.  Regulatory reform and rules reduction are delivering greater accountability, discipline and transparency to state government and easing the burden on people and businesses.


Governor Mead Reacts to Sage-Grouse Review

posted Aug 7, 2017, 4:53 PM by David Bush   [ updated Aug 7, 2017, 4:53 PM ]

August 7, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead released the following statement on today’s announcement from the US Department of the Interior (DOI) regarding Greater Sage-Grouse management:

“Secretary Zinke and the Department of the Interior made an earnest effort to collaborate with the states during the sage-grouse management review,” said Governor Mead.  “The states have primacy over sage-grouse management and Wyoming’s plan is solid and should be allowed to work. The Wyoming approach balances energy, agriculture, conservation and recreation. The federal plans do not fully implement the Wyoming approach. While DOI identifies numerous ways to improve federal plans, I am concerned that the recommendations place more focus on population targets and captive breeding. Industry needs predictability, but the report does not explain fully how population targets provide that certainty. Wyoming will continue to rely on science and scientists to manage the species. I will continue to work with Secretary Zinke, state and local stakeholders on this issue.”



Western Governors Endorse Improvements to Endangered Species Act

posted Jul 13, 2017, 10:42 AM by David Bush   [ updated Jul 13, 2017, 10:53 AM ]

July 13, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – As Chairman of the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in 2015, Governor Matt Mead launched his Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative. Through the Initiative, the Governor sought to promote and elevate the role of states in species conservation efforts and explore ways to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Over two years, the WGA held nine workshops and six webinars where a diverse group of people explored opportunities to modernize the ESA. Many of these opportunities were highlighted in a policy resolution adopted by Western Governors in June 2016. This June Western Governors adopted detailed recommendations on ESA modernization.

“I am very proud of this Initiative. My fellow Western Governors hosted workshops and webinars where over 6400 people participated, representing thousands more from myriad backgrounds,” said Governor Mead. “Through this inclusive process, we developed and adopted recommendations that can improve species conservation and the ESA for people and wildlife. I thank these Governors for their continued support of this Initiative along with the staff and the many diverse groups and people that have joined in this effort.”

The Initiative engaged groups representing agriculture, energy, sportsmen and conservationists, along with Federal, state and local governments across the West. Governor Mead and WGA will now work with Congress and the Administration to improve the ESA through policy, regulation and statute.

The Species Conservation and Endangered Species Act Initiative Year Two Report is available on the WGA’s website:

Specific recommendations from the Initiative are also available on the WGA’s website:



Wyoming to Join First Responder Network Authority

posted Jul 12, 2017, 2:59 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jul 12, 2017, 3:00 PM ]

July 11, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Matt Mead announced today that Wyoming will join the First Responder Network Authority known as FirstNet. Congress established FirstNet in 2012 to build, operate, and maintain the first high-speed, nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety. This network has been a top priority for first responders and public safety agencies in Wyoming and throughout the country, and has been designed on their specific, expressed needs. Governor Mead sent a letter to Mike Poth, CEO of FirstNet, indicating Wyoming’s intent to participate in the plan.

“The State of Wyoming has participated in FirstNet consultation and outreach activities throughout the planning of the network and reviewed the details of the FirstNet State Plan,” wrote Governor Mead. “I have determined that it is in the best interest of Wyoming to participate in the FirstNet deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network.”

FirstNet network satisfies the priorities identified by the Wyoming public safety community, rapidly provides access to public safety features, and delivers extensive population and geographic coverage.  

Pursuant to the federal law, the Governor had three options: opt-in, opt-out or do nothing. With the opt-in decision, FirstNet and AT&T take on all the risks, costs and responsibilities associated with deploying the network in Wyoming for 25 years. Wyoming is not responsible for any costs for the FirstNet network. If a state opts-out, the state is responsible for all costs and logistics associated with the network. If a state does nothing, then it defaults to opt-in.

“FirstNet will be an asset for emergency personnel across Wyoming. This is a tool that allows for better communication and faster response,” said Governor Mead.

More information on FirstNet is available on their website:


Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District

posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:25 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 1:25 PM ]

June 23, 2017

CHEYENNE, WY - Governor Matt Mead has appointed William L. (Bill) Simpson to be District Court Judge for the Fifth Judicial District. Simpson fills the vacancy occurring in the District’s Park County, Cody office with the retirement of Judge Steven Cranfill effective July 31, 2017.

A graduate of Cody High School, Simpson has a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor degree from the UW College of Law. He has been in private practice in Cody for 33 years - with Simpson, Kepler & Edwards beginning in 1984 upon graduating from law school, and since 2000 with Burg, Simpson, Eldredge, Hersh & Jardine. Simpson has also worked for the Wyoming Public Defender’s Office for almost three decades. His pro bono work through the years, in a variety of matters including domestic relations, child custody, family law, and indigent defendants, has been significant.   

“The Judicial Nominating Commission sent over three great candidates, making this decision very difficult,” said Governor Mead. “Bill Simpson received supportive letters from judges, fellow attorneys, a victims’ services organization, and members of the community from many walks of life, as well as from others around the state. His long and strong commitment to the Cody area, his criminal and civil legal experience acquired over decades of practice, and his considerable volunteer legal work to help those in need were important in making the final selection,” added the Governor.  

In reaction to his appointment, Simpson said: “I am truly and deeply honored by Governor Mead’s appointment. I will work as hard as I can for the people of the Fifth Judicial District – a place I know and love.”



Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District

posted Jun 23, 2017, 1:22 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 1:23 PM ]

June 16, 2017

CHEYENNE, WY - Governor Matt Mead has appointed F. Scott Peasley to be District Court Judge for the Eighth Judicial District. Peasley fills the vacancy occurring in Converse County with the retirement of Judge John Brooks effective August 4, 2017. The District serves Converse, Niobrara, Platte and Goshen Counties.

Peasley has been in private practice for 16 years in Douglas with his father. His practice has been broad and diverse, including representation of municipalities as well as the local school district. He has also served as a part-time deputy with the Converse County Attorney’s Office since 2001. For the County Attorney’s Office, he handled misdemeanor and felony criminal cases until a couple years ago when his work turned primarily to Converse County civil matters.

“The Judicial Nominating Commission sent three highly qualified nominees, and that is appreciated,” said Governor Mead. “Scott Peasley grew up in Douglas and clearly loves living, working and raising a family in this great town. The strong support he received locally, his hometown connection, and the depth of his criminal and civil legal experience stood out in making this selection. Scott’s volunteer work in the community - with Wyoming Boys’ State for 16 years, the Converse County Bar (serving as President the past six years), and other groups - is also impressive,” added the Governor.

Peasley stated, in reaction to his appointment: “I am honored and humbled to be selected by the Governor. I am going to work really hard to maintain the integrity of the bench and to serve the people of Converse County and the entire 8th Judicial District well.”



Governor Mead Hails Decision to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bears

posted Jun 22, 2017, 12:02 PM by David Bush   [ updated Jun 22, 2017, 12:03 PM ]

Credit: Wyoming Game and Fish

June 22, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced today that grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) have sufficiently recovered and will be returned to state management. There are approximately 700 bears in the GYE which includes Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Governor Matt Mead praised the decision.

“Grizzly bears have met or exceeded recovery objectives since 2003 and have long warranted delisting. In 2013, I asked Secretary Salazar to delist the grizzly bears and much work toward this end has been done. I appreciate that the FWS is proceeding now with the delisting,” Governor Mead said. “The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team, which includes the FWS and Wyoming Game and Fish, must be commended for its years of great work. Thanks to the team effort, grizzlies will be managed appropriately by our experts at Game and Fish. I thank all involved in the delisting effort.”

A brief history follows. In 2007, the FWS delisted grizzly bears in the GYE. A federal judge reinstated protections in 2009 after finding that the FWS did not adequately consider the impacts of the decline of whitebark pine nuts - a grizzly bear food source. In 2013, the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team determined that the reduction in whitebark pine nuts did not significantly impact grizzly bears and again recommended delisting. In March 2016, the FWS published a draft rule to delist grizzly bears in the GYE. States gave additional assurance regarding long-term viability. Wyoming has adopted a Grizzly Bear Management Plan outlining how management will occur after the bears are delisted. That document is available on the Game and Fish website.


Governor Appoints New District Court Judge for the Second Judicial Distric

posted May 25, 2017, 10:50 AM by David Bush   [ updated May 25, 2017, 10:50 AM ]

May 18, 2017

CHEYENNE, Wyo – Governor Matt Mead has appointed Dawnessa Snyder to be District Court Judge for the Second Judicial District in Carbon County.  Snyder fills the vacancy occurring with the retirement of Judge Wade Waldrip on July 7.

Snyder is currently the Chief Deputy in the Carbon County Attorney’s Office.  She has also served as an Adjunct Professor for Western Wyoming Community College.  She is a native of Rock Springs.  She received her Bachelor and Law degrees from the University of Wyoming.

“Dawnessa Snyder has earned a reputation as an outstanding prosecutor.  She has broad trial experience and has handled a number of highly complex and sensitive trials as a prosecuting attorney,”  Mead said.  

“All three nominees for this position were highly qualified.  Dawnessa Snyder received strong support from fellow attorneys, child advocates, law enforcement and community members.  The strength of this support was important in the final selection,” Mead concluded.

Many supporters cited Snyder’s successful prosecution of sex offenders and her compassionate work with child victims.  She was instrumental in the construction of the Carbon County Youth Crisis Center, a group home for at risk children.  

In reaction to her appointment, Snyder stated,

“I am humbled by Governor Mead’s appointment, and excited to serve Carbon County and the State of Wyoming by upholding the integrity of our judicial system and following in the footsteps of excellent Carbon County District Judges.”



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