Date of this Version
If it seems like considerable time has elapsed since you received the last issue of Drought Network News, it is not just your imagination. After much discussion, we decided not to publish the newsletter in October 1997. First, we had a limited number of submissions to include. Second, the task of editing the manuscript for a new drought book was an overwhelming task that was involving much of my time and that of my publications specialist, Deborah Wood. She is also responsible for Drought Network News. With more submissions and the near completion of the drought book, I am pleased to be publishing this issue of the newsletter.
The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) organized and conducted two training workshops on drought contingency planning in 1997. These workshops were very successful, with more than 200 participants representing a diverse background of tribal, local, state, federal, and regional organizations and agencies. Three more workshops are planned for this spring. An article about the workshops is included in this issue (p. 3).
The National Drought Policy Act continues to be discussed in the U.S. Congress. The Senate version of the bill (S222) passed last November. An identical version of the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives (HR3035) in November. I testified in support of the bill at a hearing in late January. Although some minor modifications may be made in the bill, it is expected to pass the House. This bill would establish a commission to review existing drought programs at the federal, state, and local level and make recommendations to the Congress and the president on the elements of a national drought policy. The commission would have 18 months to complete its task. The NDMC will work closely with the commission.