- AP: Half of US counties now considered disaster areas – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The worst drought in decades is now affecting more than half of the counties in the United States, as farmers continue to battle severe heat and dryness.
Nearly 220 counties were added to the affected list Aug. 1 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bringing the total number of counties affected to 1,584 counties in 32 states. Counties added Aug. 1 were located in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.
As a result of the mounting disaster, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack opened 3.8 million acres of conservation to ranchers for haying and grazing to alleviate its impact on the agriculture industry.
- Senate committee votes to keep hurricane relief planes in Texas – Houston Chronicle
Cargo airplanes used exclusively for hurricane evacuations in Texas will remain in Fort Worth for two more years if a Senate committee vote wins congressional approval.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted Aug. 2 to keep the fleet of C-130s used by the Texas Air National Guard in the state, blocking a move to consolidate hurricane evacuation planes by the Pentagon. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) said in a statement that the planes play an “important role in disaster relief and recovery operations for the entire Gulf coast.”
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