Utah Gov. Spencer Cox among western governors asking for drought help
Jul 4, 2021, 3:24 PM | Updated: Jul 5, 2021, 8:58 am
(CNN) — A pair of governors on Sunday, including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, called on the federal government for drought help and pushed for solutions as their states grapple with recording-breaking temperatures, drought and wildfires that officials have said is being driven by climate change.
RELATED: Wild Weather: Utah in the midst of an ‘exceptional’ drought
“We need resources and we need boots on the ground. For example, we need financial resources to be able to purchase critical, essential equipment, like aircraft, to help us fight fire,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”
She had been asked what the federal government should do to help states prepare for conditions that scientists warn could be a new normal.
“It also means that agencies like FEMA, who do not aid our undocumented families — we need to make sure that that happens.”
RELATED: How bad is the Utah drought? We asked a firefighter
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, a Republican and sixth-generation farmer, on Sunday said there are several necessary ways to address the ongoing issue but stressed water conservation.
“We have to conserve water better, we have to use less water. … We have water restrictions across the state,” Cox said during another interview with CBS. “We have to store more water.
The people that settled these arid mountain valleys and western states knew that. We’re not doing a great job of that anymore. I’m grateful that in this bipartisan infrastructure push there is money for that type of infrastructure, storing water above ground and underground as well will make a big difference” Cox said.
The bipartisan plea follows a meeting last week between President Joe Biden and other Western governors during which he announced new federal response plans to help address the wildfire threats and extreme heat being driven by climate change.
RELATED: Utah Drought could bring bears closer to people
They include extending seasonal hiring, adding “surge capacity” by training and equipping additional personnel, and adding fire detection resources. The Biden administration will also use satellite and emerging technologies to rapidly detect new fires.
Scientists have warned for decades that climate change will make heat waves more frequent and more intense.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 49 wildfires have burned more than 524,441 acres across several states, including Oregon, California and Utah, as of Sunday. Across the entire country, wildfires have burned 1.5 million acres so far in 2021.
Hundreds of deaths have been reported across the Pacific Northwest and Canada amid the heat wave. The Medical Examiner’s Office in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, identified 64 deaths related to excessive heat between June 27 and July 3, according to a county news release Sunday.
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
We want to hear from you.
Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.
Today’s Top Stories
- Candidates starting to line up as potential replacement for Rep. Stewart
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announces site of North Carolina Temple
- SLC Ballpark ‘Next Design’ competition winners announced
- Here’s how Utah’s 4 congressmen voted on the debt ceiling bill
- Becky Edwards announces her intent to run to represent Utah’s 2nd Congressional District
- The streaming shift from BYUtv to ESPN
- U of U Health, Regence insurance warn they may not reach a contract
- Congressman Chris Stewart announces resignation
- Sen. Lee says he will vote no on debt ceiling agreement
- Lori Vallow Daybell shrugs after being handed docs about delivering up her kids, video shows