Bentz makes drought a top priority

By on Monday, May 17th, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario) is the ranking member on a House subcommittee on water and ocean wildlife. He said that group is working across party lines to get both Congress and the nation to pay attention to the drought conditions across the West, including Oregon.

Umatilla County is divided among areas that are abnormally dry, in moderate drought, or in severe drought. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service is predicting a drier and warmer than normal summer. Bentz said his subcommittee is starting a series of hearings about the drought crisis next week.

“The goal is to bring the nation’s attention to the drought, because when you reach a point where you don’t have water, you turn to federal relief that is going to try to keep people from going bankrupt,” he said.

He said the Western drought will impact the entire nation as it impacts farmland.

“I’ve heard that 1 million acres of land will be dried up in the California Central Valley Project area, and, of course, there’s 100,000 acres down in the Klamath area that will be dried up,” he said. The Klamath Basin area is currently being hit the hardest in Oregon.

Drought monitor map is for conditions on May 13.