CHEYENNE — Gov. Matt Mead is refusing to return or repay more than $200,000 sought by the U.S.Forest Service because of federal sequester budget cuts.

In an April 19 letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas L. Tidwell, Mead said $197,225 in Secure Rural Schools money was paid to 19 Wyoming counties on Jan. 16, well before the March 1 automatic budget cuts deadline.

The counties spent the money on public schools, roads, conservation, emergency service and wildfire protection, Mead wrote.

“I have yet to see a legal justification for the U.S. Forest Service to require the state or counties to pay back funds to which they were rightfully entitled and which have been lawfully distributed,” the letter said.

Mead added that he would not

refund an additional $21,807 that was paid to the state from a second federal fund.

He added that he would, though, agree to the Forest Service withholding money from a special projects fund, but only $18,000 of it.

Alaska’s governor, Sean Parnell, also is refusing to pay or return money to the Forest Service, in his case more than $800,000

In his letter to Tidwell, Parnell, like Mead, questioned the agency’s authority to demand a refund or to reduce funding to offset the cost.

Forest Service Chief Tidwell sent letters to

41 states, asking for the return of $17.9 million in timber payments used to pay for schools, roads, search and rescue operations in rural counties and conservation projects.

“We regret having to take this action, but we have no alternative under sequestration,” Tidwell said in his letter to Parnell, dated March 19.

The National Governors Association last month requested legal justification for the agency’s demands to the states, according to The Associated Press.

In Alaska, the amount in question includes $707,795 that has been paid to the state under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act and $118,537 that has not yet been paid and would be withheld, Parnell said. The state was given the option of having the total amount — $826,332 — reduced from the funds the state receives under the act for things like conservation projects or getting a bill for the money that’s already been paid out.

Contact Joan Barron at 3067-632-1244 or

(3) comments

dd ric
dd ric

To the manor born. Anybody who attended any primary debates would've picked up on Meads agenda. Out of the box he get a "best run state" award he had nothing to do with,and then "No money for nothin",freeze the workers wages,"we" oppose the AHCA. What a nickel and dime operation from someone whose family made it all from government,and he'll have a golden parachute the rest of his days. Any bets out there he won't accept a SS check or the retirement/pension package when he's out of office? ddric


So I'm guessing the FS wont receive any money from the state for recreation


Manipulation of the public trust? They are still playing games with our lives.

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