WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 -- The Union of Concerned Scientists issued the following news release:
The House is rushing to pass a drought assistance bill today before adjoining for the August recess, in the hopes of helping farmers and ranchers struggling through the drought, which now affects more than half of the country. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Congress must act to help farmers - especially those without crop insurance - but sacrificing conservation is not the way to fund this bill.
Below is a statement by Justin Tatham (http://www.ucsusa.org/news/experts/justin-tatham.html), senior Washington representative for UCS's Food & Environment Program:
"In order to pay for this assistance package, the House will eliminate funding for critical conservation programs - programs that help farmers employ practices that protect soil and water and actually mitigate the harm that drought and excessive heat can cause.
"Passing a drought assistance package at the expense of conservation programs is short-sighted, at best. Instead of taking money from the extravagant commodity subsidies, the House plans to cut programs that would help farmers cope better with future droughts.
"If Congress is serious about assisting farmers in the long term and helping minimize the impacts of the droughts that are likely in coming years, it should increase funding for conservation programs.
"Farmers with parched fields and emaciated cattle need Congress to pass a responsibly funded assistance package now. But paying for today's disaster by slashing tomorrow's conservation measures simply doesn't make sense."
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