Government agencies to send aid to drought-stricken states on west coast

2 Drought Conditions ImageSeven states on the west coast — including California, Oregon and Washington — are set to receive aid from various federal agencies due to extreme drought conditions. The Obama administration has already earmarked $110 million for the relief efforts, to be distributed through various federal agencies with varying goals for the funds. The U.S. Department of Labor, Department of the Interior and Department of Agriculture all have concerns regarding drought conditions. The latter agencies are concerned about the increased risk for fire in extremely dry weather, and the steep cost that wildfires could incur. The DoL will be distributing $18 million in funds throughout drought-stricken states for temporary help and training for farm workers. The Department of Ecology is waiting for approval for its relief funding, and in the meantime is using its own budget to provide aid. “Impacts are already severe in several areas of the state,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “Difficult decisions are being made about what crops get priority water and how best to save fish.” A statewide emergency was declared in Washington due to drought conditions, as the state Department of Agriculture estimates that $1.2 billion in crops will be lost to lack of water. Funds have been earmarked for various relief efforts, including drilling new wells, installing well pumps and pipes, and improving irrigation and grazing practices in an effort to conserve water. Washington state has already requested almost $10 million for relief, and is waiting for approval by the legislature. Nineteen of the 36 counties in Oregon have been granted emergency status, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has proposed $56 million in funding for community aid.]]>

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