Skip to main content Statement On Senate Agriculture SubCommittee Hearing on Drought Crisis Fueled by Climate Change

This week, the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Climate, Forestry and Natural Resources held its first hearing in nine years about the worsening drought crisis fueled by climate change.

The Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), was ​​held to “examine the drought parching the American West.” In his opening remarks, Bennet said “This is a five-alarm crisis for the American West.” And, he told the Washington Post, “The main reason why this drought is so severe is because of climate change,” later adding, “Colorado is literally being incinerated as a result of climate change.”

The following is a statement  from Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of Rural Organizing:

Thank you, Senator Bennet, for holding the hearing on the drought crisis and how climate change is making it worse . Anyone who lives in the west or midwest knows this reality. They live it. And, that’s especially true for anyone working in agriculture, or in my case, family who works in that business. The question isn’t “is climate change real?” It is “what are we going to do about it?” 

Rural communities are  facing some of the most dramatic impacts from climate change, yet often lack access to resources for resilience.  This is obviously a major concern for farmers, but also the damage brought by drought, violent storms, and fires are having outsize impact in rural areas. 

As the Colorado Senator noted the impact: more than 75 percent of the West is experiencing severe drought, which threatens to put farmers and ranchers out of business and also presents a dire situation for communities that rely on the Colorado River to sustain their families and their livelihoods.

With that in mind, we strongly support Senator Bennet’s efforts to pass legislation addressing this crisis this year as part of the budget reconciliation process. And, we are focused on the 2023 Farm bill as an opportunity to educate rural voters about the local benefits associated with the national transition to cheap, renewable, and clean energy  through our Campaign for Rural Progress.  

When a United States Senator can say, without hyperbole, that their state is being incinerated , there’s really no time to waste.

The mission of  is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.


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