Dr. Bucshon Supports Bill to Reduce Drought Related Impacts and Costs
On Monday, Congressman Larry Bucshon, a physician from Southern Indiana, joined the House of Representatives to pass, H.R. 2431, the National Integrated Drought Information Systems Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill reauthorizes the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) Program through FY2018 and makes important program improvements that help better equip states and local communities with the resources necessary to reduce drought related impacts and costs.
Bucshon released the following statement regarding passage of H.R. 2431:
“We all remember how devastating the severe 2012 summer drought was on our farms and our communities. Looking to the future, it is important that we do everything we can to ensure federal, state, and local governments and individual citizens can better prepare for droughts and deal with the impacts once they hit. Effective and timely information is a critical part of the equation, and I’m happy to reauthorize and improve the capability of NIDIS to provide this resource our communities.”
H.R. 2431 revises NIDIS functions to require NIDIS to:
Provide certain information, forecasts, and assessments described in the Act on both national and regional levels.
Build upon existing forecasting and assessment programs and partnerships through designation of one or more cooperative institutes to assist with NIDIS functions.
Continue ongoing research and monitoring activities related to drought.
Moreover, this legislation directs the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to, within 18 months after the date of the bill’s enactment, submit a report to Congress that contains:
An analysis of the implementation of the NIDIS program, including how the information, forecasts, and assessments are utilized in drought policy planning and response activities.
Specific plans for continued development of such a program, including future milestones.
An identification of research, monitoring, and forecasting needs to enhance the predictive capability of drought early warnings.
During the extreme summer drought in 2012, every county in Indiana’s Eighth District was declared either a primary or contiguous disaster area by the USDA. A drought map provided by Indiana Public Media can be accessed here.
During that time, Bucshon participated in a hearing to examine the state of drought forecasting, monitoring, and decision-making and the role that NIDIS serves in drought planning and invited Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard to provide testimony. Echoing the potential benefits of more timely and accurate drought information, Mayor Ballard said that “Improvements in drought prediction tools would have the potential to provide earlier information that could be used in water supply and demand planning and decision-making related to appropriate responses.”
NIDIS (courtesy of the Science Committee):
In 2006, the Congress passed the National Integrated Drought Information System Act, which established the NIDIS program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program’s primary function is to provide an effective early warning system for droughts by coordinating and integrating federal research. NIDIS was responsible for the establishment of the U.S. Drought portal, a website that publishes data from observations—including early warnings about emerging and potential droughts—and provides decision support services for those managing droughts.