Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns and fellow western governors are urging Congress to provide emergency drought relief and adopt the National Drought Preparedness Act to ensure a proactive federal approach to drought issues in the future.
“The emergency drought relief would go directly to struggling farmers and ranchers in need of immediate assistance and that’s important,” Gov. Johanns said. “It is also high time to put a system in place that provides a coordinated federal drought response so we don’t have to hope and hold our breath when faced with drought disasters. An integrated system would improve overall management of drought by helping us to predict drought cycles and severity and it would ensure a consistent federal response that the states can count-on when drought takes hold of the industry that drives our economy.”
Gov. Johanns co-authored a letter urging members of Congress to provide emergency drought relief and ensure a proactive response to drought in the future by including the provisions of the National Drought Preparedness Act in the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. The letter was sent Tuesday by the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) to the congressional leaders.
Gov. Johanns is a co-lead governor on drought for the WGA. In June, the Governor lead a discussion about drought management at a WGA meeting that resulted in a unanimous vote by western governors to adopt the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) report. This system would reportedly vastly improve drought monitoring and forecasting by enabling real time assessment of drought risk information before the onset of drought.
The Drought Preparedness Act would establish a NIDIS and create a National Drought Council to coordinate and integrate federal drought assistance. The changes would reportedly create a consistent and predictable federal response, as occurs with other natural disasters. Nineteen Senators and forty-five House members from 29 states have cosponsored this legislation.
A copy of the WGA letter co-authored by Gov. Johanns is available on the Governor’s Web site at www.gov.state.ne.us.
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