Environment & Science

Federal agencies pledge another $110 million in drought aid

EL CENTRO, CA - MARCH 12:  A farm canal is illuminated by the sunrise March 12, 2009 near El Centro, California. El Centro is suffering the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 22.6 percent, nearly as high as rates during the Great Depression, with Latinos especially being hit hard. The people of the Imperial Valley, an important food producing region in the desert north of the U.S.-Mexico border and east of San Diego, are plagued with a devastating combination of drought, which has farmers desperate for water; a construction-idling housing bust; and a plummeting peso, which undercuts the buying power of Mexicans who shop on the U.S. side of the border. On top of that, California is reeling from a massive budget crisis that ushered in higher taxes and deep cuts to programs and services statewide.
EL CENTRO, CA - MARCH 12: A farm canal is illuminated by the sunrise March 12, 2009 near El Centro, California. El Centro is suffering the highest unemployment rate in the nation at 22.6 percent, nearly as high as rates during the Great Depression, with Latinos especially being hit hard. The people of the Imperial Valley, an important food producing region in the desert north of the U.S.-Mexico border and east of San Diego, are plagued with a devastating combination of drought, which has farmers desperate for water; a construction-idling housing bust; and a plummeting peso, which undercuts the buying power of Mexicans who shop on the U.S. side of the border. On top of that, California is reeling from a massive budget crisis that ushered in higher taxes and deep cuts to programs and services statewide.
David McNew/Getty Images

Federal agencies have pledged another $110 million in drought aid after President Barack Obama talked to the leaders of seven western states.

That includes $18 million for a temporary jobs program to help Californians who are unemployed because of the drought; $30 million to ensure farmers don't lose crop insurance because of exceptionally low production; and $10 million to reduce the threat of wildfires.

The Obama administration says representatives from agriculture, labor, environmental protection, interior and emergency management took part in Friday's call.

The president met by phone and video link with the governors of Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming and with the lieutenant governor of Utah.