Bill Would Block Postal Service Plan to Downsize Wyoming Mail Centers

Wyoming’s congressional delegaton has united around a bipartisan bill that would block the U.S. Postal Service’s plans to eliminate major mail centers in Wyoming and other states.

Renée Jean

April 18, 20247 min read

Customers line up in the U.S. Post Office on Converse Avenue in Cheyenne.
Customers line up in the U.S. Post Office on Converse Avenue in Cheyenne. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

A new bill moving through Congress aims to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from removing all of a state’s big mail processing services.

Wyoming’s congressional delegation has joined forces to fight back against the Postal Service’s “Delivering for America” plan with a bipartisan bill in both the Senate and House that seeks to prevent the U.S. Postal Service from eliminating all of a state’s major processing facilities.

The move follows a decision by the USPS to move forward with downsizing both large mail processing facilities in Cheyenne and Casper, Wyoming’s only major processing centers.

That would send the bulk of Cheyenne’s mail to Denver for processing, and the bulk of Casper’s mail to Billings, Montana. Inbound mail would still be processed in each respective city.

“We will continue to sort inbound mail in Casper, and we will continue to sort inbound mail in Cheyenne,” Postal Service spokesman James Boxrud told Cowboy State Daily in an email. “It’s just the outgoing mail — the vast majority of which leaves the local area anyway. We currently sort that mail in Casper (or Cheyenne), then put it on a truck to Billings or Denver anyway.

“We’re simply taking out that expensive and inefficient first handling.”

While the Postal Service says that mail deliveries will still be “on time,” the change does mean that mail will take longer to arrive than it does now. Where mail from one Cheyenne or Casper address to another used to arrive essentially as overnight service, now local mail will arrive within a two-day timeframe, which is what the Postal Service is defining as “on time.”

It also means that mailed-in ballots for elections will be processed outside the state, adding to the time it takes for them to arrive.

The Postal Operations Stay Timely and Local (POSTAL) Act, would prevent all that by requiring each state to have at least one Processing and Distribution Center. The bill is cosponsored by Wyoming Republican U.S. Sens. John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis in the Senate, and by U.S. Reps. Harriet Hageman and Democrat Chris Pappas of New Hampshire in the House, making it a bipartisan bill as well as bicameral.

“All Americans rely upon USPS to receive correspondence, bills, packages, and medications in a timely manner,” Hageman said. “If fulfilled, the USPS modernization plan threatens the promise of timely, secure mail delivery by transporting the bulk of Wyoming’s mail out of state, while also forcing many USPS P&DC employees to either relocate or lose their jobs.”

The U.S. Postal Service is studying whether some mail services should be moved from the Casper Post Office to Montana.
The U.S. Postal Service is studying whether some mail services should be moved from the Casper Post Office to Montana. (Abby Roich, Cowboy State Daily)

Election Concerns

One of the big concerns with the Postal Service plan for Wyoming is what will happen to election ballots that are mailed in to county clerks.

In December, Secretary of State Chuck Gray sent a letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy demanding that Wyoming ballots be isolated for local processing.

Postal Service officials told Cowboy State Daily that they would employ “extraordinary measures” for election mail, but claimed that the secretary of state’s guidance was to use ballot drop boxes if a ballot hasn’t been mailed within seven days of the election.

However, that is not what Gray has recommended at all, he told Cowboy State Daily.

“I do NOT support ballot drop boxes and have issued no such guidance,” Gray told Cowboy State Daily.

In fact, Gray expressed his support of banning ballot drop boxes during his 2022 election campaign.

“I’m deeply concerned that processing Wyoming mail outside the state of Wyoming will delay the delivery of all mail,” Gray told Cowboy State Daily in an email. “I’m also concerned that this will delay delivery of absentee ballots and otherwise impede the integrity of the umping 2024 election and future elections.

“I view the repeated and disturbing proposals to move mail processing outside the state of Wyoming as detrimental to Wyoming elections and the people of Wyoming. Wyoming mail should be processed in Wyoming.”

Cost-Saving Moves?

While the Postal Service has not characterized its changes to Casper and Cheyenne mail services as a cost-cutting move, the final decision document outlines around $3 million in savings at each facility on an annual basis.

The plan would also put $5.7 million into the Casper facility to provide new lighting and renovated bathrooms and restrooms, as well as something called a Flex Rover Sorter Quad, which appears to be a robotic system that will help sort mail, bundles and sacks.

In addition to the Flex Rover, there will be something called a Smart Locker to serve as a “keyless, self-service delivery solution that allows package shippers and package recipients to send and receive packages direct to a Post Office Smart Locker location.”

Eventually, the Postal Services expects these changes to result in more activity, which will require more “support.”

Whether that support will be human or robot is a question Postal Service officials had not responded to at the time this story was posted.

The measures being taken in Wyoming are part of a larger $40 billion national plan that the Postal Service says modernizes and improves the efficiency of the nation’s postal delivery system.

But Lummis characterized it as a “laughable display” of fiscal responsibility.

“They are senselessly spending billions of Wyoming tax dollars on their left-wing priorities,” she said. “In-state mail should not have to leave the state of Wyoming for processing, yet under this administration’s string of closures, that’s the harsh reality for Wyoming and a handful of states across the U.S.

“Every single state should have at least one sorting facility to ensure Americans receive their mail in a timely manner, and I am partnering with Sen. Barrasso and Rep. Hageman to ensure that standard is met,” she said.

Lummis isn’t the only one panning the Delivery for America plan. Testimony on the hill Tuesday blasted the Postal Service’s performance to date, and noted historic drops in performance standards.

The Cheyenne Post Office on Converse Avenue.
The Cheyenne Post Office on Converse Avenue. (Greg Johnson, Cowboy State Daily)

Questions About Jobs

Barrasso, meanwhile, highlighted the jobs that will be saved.

“The United States Postal Service is a lifeline in rural states like ours,” Barrasso said. “The USPS’ outrageous proposal would close processing and distribution centers in Wyoming and lead to unnecessary delays. The people of Wyoming deserve to have access to a reliable and timely postal service. This bipartisan legislation will save jobs and ensure we continue to have access to these critical postal facilities in Wyoming.”

The Postal Service has said that its plans won’t eliminate any career employee positions. However, the study documents do identify the loss of four “craft” positions.

In Provo, Utah, the loss of “craft” positions was listed as eight.

That turned out to be more like 51 jobs affected, according to Ricci Roberts, branch president of Cheyenne mail handling unit.

“When I pulled up Provo’s information, what I found they did there is they excessed, or got rid of, 51 people,” she has told Cowboy State daily. “So, they were able to relocate 43 of them. So, the 51 minus 43 is eight, and so that’s where they came up with that number.”

Renée Jean can be reached at

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Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter