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As Drought Crisis Grows, Republicans Call on Administration to Take Action


WASHINGTON, D.C.,
July 23, 2021

Today, House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined Western Caucus Chairman Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other Republican members in a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging them to take swift action to address the growing drought crisis in the west. In part, the members wrote:

“We remain committed to working across the aisle with the Biden Administration to mitigate this and future droughts. However, we are concerned that the Biden Administration lacks a comprehensive plan. This is especially troubling when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, an agency within the Department of the Interior, is charged with delivering water in 17 western states to more than 31 million people. The agency’s projects also provide water to one out of five Western farmers to irrigate 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60 percent of the nation’s vegetables and 25 percent of its fruits and nuts…

“House Republicans have questioned Interior Department officials time and again in hearings to receive answers on what proposals or solutions the Biden Administration and its Interagency Working Group are developing and how we can work together to combat the western drought crisis. Instead, we have not received concrete answers or responses that were promised to our questions in writing. As a result, we and many of our constituents are left with the perception that this Administration has no comprehensive drought plan and that the Interagency Working Group announcement was nothing more than a window-dressing exercise for the press.

“We hope that it is not the case.”

Read the full letter here

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