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Congressman Bentz Continues to Push for Drought Relief in House Republican Forum

May 19, 2021

WASHINGTON, DCToday, Congressman Cliff Bentz (R-Ore.) chaired the House Natural Resources Committee Republican Forum on Catastrophic Drought in his continuing effort to address the ongoing water crisis in the American West. He was joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).

During the discussion on Wednesday, the panel heard testimony from Americans impacted by the drought, including testimony from Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd. Republicans on the panel and other witnesses spoke on the impact of the current drought on agriculture and the economy, wildlife, energy, recreation, and tribal communities. They discussed why people living outside western states should care about drought and potential conservative water infrastructure and policy solutions.

During his opening statement, Bentz said: "Today's forum is a another first step toward bringing the attention of the nation to what is shaping up to be a catastrophic year of drought and wildfire." Bentz continued: "Short-term solutions hopefully will involve funding to help mitigate the drought, but we must clearly do something longer term so our communities can better withstand the next drought. Cleaning up watersheds on a large scale and increasing the height of existing water storage structures are just a few of the smart, commonsense things we must do"

Congressman Bentz's remarks during the forum follow his joint announcement yesterday with Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) of a $57 million disaster aid proposal focused on providing relief and assisting those harmed by drought in the Klamath Basin.

During the forum on Wednesday, Klamath Commissioner Donnie Boyd stated: "Surface water irrigation is shut down. Family farms, farm employees, businesses that serve agriculture, main streets in the Klamath County and in rural communities are all at risk and terrified. Natural wildlife refuges that rely on the same water delivery system as agriculture have no water. This year is the worst, or close to the worst, drought year in memory."

Click HERE or below to watch the entirety of Wednesday's forum.