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CRS – Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress

Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress, April 22, 2013

  • “Drought is a natural hazard with often significant societal, economic, and environmental consequences. Public policy issues related to drought range from how to identify and measure drought to how best to prepare for, mitigate, and respond to drought impacts, and who should bear associated costs. Severe drought in 2011 and 2012 fueled congressional interest in near-term issues, such as current (and recently expired) federal programs and their funding, and long-term issues, such as drought forecasting and various federal drought relief and mitigation actions. Continuing drought conditions throughout the country contribute to ongoing interest in federal drought policies and responses. As of April 2013, drought has persisted across approximately two-thirds of the United States and is threatening agricultural production and other sectors. More than 1,180 counties so far have been designated as disaster areas for the 2013 crop season, including 286 counties contiguous to primary drought counties.”
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