House Dems Urge Biden to Declare Crisis

House Dems Urge Biden to Declare Crisis

( – The Western United States is in the midst of a relentless drought. Some states like California, have been grappling with it for years. The consequences of the dry condition are becoming unbearable and lawmakers are now urging President Joe Biden’s administration to do something to help.

Drought Declaration

On August 25, Democratic Reps. Joe Neguse (CO) and Jared Huffman (CA) sent a letter to Biden and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to request help for the western states. The lawmakers decided to reach out to the executive branch after several governors asked the administration to declare a major disaster for the drought.

The congressmen explained the record-setting temperatures, lack of rain, and wildfires are creating a terrible situation for landowners. The Bureau of Reclamation recently declared a water shortage in the Colorado River Basin for the first time in history. All of these issues have led to a lack of livestock feed which means landowners are now stuck with a decision about whether to sell their animals and their property. Worse, Neguse and Huffman said, “This drought could have long-term impacts on the food supply, wildlife, and livelihood of Americans in the West as these conditions persist.”

On August 16, Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) and the other western governors sent their letter to the administration asking for help. According to a press release, 99% of the western states declared droughts in 2021, compared to 63% the year before. The state leaders said there’s “little to no animal feed across much of the west” and without the assistance of the federal government, communities are going to take years to recover.

The only way the states can access the funds available through FEMA is if the Biden administration declares a disaster in the region.

Devastating Fires

In addition to the problems with the lack of livestock feed, wildfires are scorching the west. California firefighters have been fighting the Dixie Wildfire since mid-July. It has burned more than 740,000 acres and over 1,270 structures. More than a month into the start of the fire, it’s only 50% or so contained.

The fire is the second-largest in state history. That’s not the only fire burning in the state. In fact, 14,000 firefighters are fighting more than a dozen blazes in California. Oregon, Washington and other states have also had to deal with wildfires.

The Biden administration needs to help the states survive the drought. If the president doesn’t step up, it could harm the states for years to come.

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