Western House Members Ask for FEMA Disaster Declaration

Several members of Congress are asking President Biden to declare a drought disaster in the western United States as record temperatures and wildfires hit several states hard. Democrats Joe Neguse of Colorado and Jared Huffman of California, whose districts have been hit hard by drought and wildfires, joined 31 other lawmakers in the House asking the president and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to release additional resources to help Western areas faced with water cuts as supplies dwindle.

“There’s little to no livestock feed available in the West, farmers are considering selling their livestock or land, and many species of wildlife are suffering from wildfires and no water,” Huffman and Neguse wrote in a letter to the White House. “This drought could have long-term impacts on our food supply, wildlife, and the livelihoods of Americans across the Western U.S.” NBC News says the letter supports a similar request this month from governors of 10 drought-stricken states asking the Biden administration to declare a drought disaster that would allow “agricultural communities to get access to funds that aren’t available through existing disaster programs.”

The governors pointed out in their letter that historic drought may wipe out entire crops, limit yields, and lead to extreme levels of pests and disease that could add to the disaster.