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Western governors want drought policy

June 21, 2004 at 6:04 PM

SANTA FE, N.M., June 21 (UPI) -- Western governors Monday called for a national drought policy to include a new network to better predict and respond to the natural disaster.

The National Integrated Drought Information System was recommended by a panel of governors at the annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association in Santa Fe.

"Better science will lead to better and more timely decisions, thus reducing or mitigating a drought's impact," said Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns, a co-leader of the study group.

The western governors staff worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop the drought early-warning system database.

Montana Gov. Judy Martz said the nation has a policy for tornadoes and floods but no such program to respond to drought. Much of the West is in the sixth year of a drought.

The western governors called for a national policy like the National Drought Preparedness Act sponsored by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.

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