Last of Wyoming mail processing centers could be moved out of state
By Jasmine Hall
Jackson Hole Daily
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
JACKSON — Teton County’s mail hasn’t been processed in-state in almost a decade, and that could be the reality for most Wyoming communities in the coming years.
The U.S. Postal Service wants to downgrade Cheyenne’s processing and distribution center and move operations to Denver. There have also been plans to close the distribution center in Casper in 2025 and move it to Billings, Montana.
The reasoning is similar to why the Rock Springs processing center — where mail for Teton County was previously processed — was downgraded, and operations were moved to Salt Lake City between 2015 and 2016. The idea was to save the Postal Service millions and address productivity and volume concerns.
The U.S. Postal Service shut down nearly 40% of its processing centers in 2015, and the closure in Rock Springs left Wyoming with only two facilities.
State and federal officials are now fighting to keep those open, with the emphasis on Cheyenne.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in mid-December saying that she applauded the Postal Service for working to modernize the nation’s postal network and that she voted to pass the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022.
“However, I am concerned that certain aspects of the Postal Service’s 10-year strategic plan, such as recategorizing Cheyenne’s facility as an LPC [Local Processing Center], will come at the expense of rural communities in Wyoming,” Lummis wrote. “Sadly, my Wyoming constituents know this all too well. In 2015, USPS closed dozens of the country’s processing centers, and western Wyoming’s mail sorting activities were transferred from Rock Springs to Salt Lake City.”
She said that since then, mail services have been severely impacted and deliveries are often delayed by weeks.
Jobs could be lost in this next move. But it also means that mail sent from one Wyoming address to another Wyoming address in certain ZIP codes would have to leave the state before getting delivered.
Gov. Mark Gordon and Secretary of State Chuck Gray also expressed frustration to DeJoy about the proposal.
“The effect of this is any mail leaving an immediate zip code will be processed outside of Wyoming and then returned here,” Gordon wrote. “That would mean a simple delivery between Cheyenne to Casper would include a stop in Denver, Colorado, or Billings, Montana.”
Gray told DeJoy he is “concerned that it threatens the integrity of our electoral process and delays the processing of election mail.”
Gray said he has been contacted by numerous Wyomingites who believe processing state election mail in Denver would delay delivery of mail-in ballots and raise security issues.
“While I understand past practice has been to isolate Wyoming ballots for local processing, I believe Wyoming deserves written assurance from the Postal Service that Wyoming ballots will continue to be isolated and processed in Wyoming, rather than be shipped to Denver for processing,” he said.