Wyden, Merkley urge federal government to deliver drought relief to Oregon

Wyden, Merkley urge federal government to deliver drought relief to Oregon

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley recently pressed the Bureau of Reclamation to prioritize Oregon as the agency develops its plans for the drought relief resources that Congress recently provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

"[W]e write to strongly urge the Bureau of Reclamation to provide critical funding to areas in Oregon that have been devastated by the historic, multi-year, extreme drought conditions," the senators wrote to Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton. "As you saw first-hand this summer while visiting the Klamath Basin, the drought has been devastating to Oregon communities. As our reservoirs run dry, 23 Oregon counties have USDA disaster designations and hundreds of thousands of Oregonians have been directly harmed by drought. Communities and irrigation districts are continuing to invest in water conservation improvements, however, funding is becoming harder to come by with the persistent drought conditions. The number of projects that need to be completed to address this drought emergency has far outpaced local funding sources."

". . . Your agency is now primed with new funding and beneficial tools that can help Oregonians struggling against drought by supporting repairs to aging infrastructure, conservation efficiencies and new piping. These infrastructure upgrades would improve irrigation, water quality, wildlife refuges, and salmon and steelhead fisheries across the state," the senators continued.