USDA News Release

Release No. 0275.99

Media Contact: Laura Trivers (202) 720-3310
Public Contact: Dann Stuart (202) 690-0474


WASHINGTON, July 07, 1999--The National Drought Policy Commission (NDPC) will hold its first meeting Thursday, July 22, 1999, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in the Williamsburg Room, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. On Friday, July 23, there will be a public hearing from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Jefferson Auditorium, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C., to solicit comments from the public. Both meetings are open to the public; however, seating will be limited and available on a first-come basis.

At its first business meeting, the newly-appointed commission will set priorities, schedule public hearing dates, and review information regarding existing drought laws and programs. The commission has been tasked to make recommendations to the President and Congress on how to better integrate federal drought laws and programs with ongoing state, local, and tribal programs without infringing on state control of water resources. Recommendations will also include ways to improve public awareness of the need for drought mitigation, prevention, and response, as well as whether all federal drought preparation and response programs should be consolidated under one existing federal agency, and if so, identify the agency.

Anyone wishing to make an oral presentation to the commission must contact the Executive Director, Leona Dittus, in writing (by letter, fax or internet) no later than 12 noon EST July 16, 1999, in order to be included on the public hearing agenda for July 23. The request should identify the name and affiliation of the individual who will make the presentation and an outline of the issues to be addressed. Those wishing to testify, but who are unable to notify the commission office by July 16, will be able to sign up as a presenter on July 23 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. These presenters will testify on a first-come, first-served basis, and comments will be limited based on the time available and the number of presenters. Written statements will be accepted at the meeting, or may be mailed or faxed to the commission office by Sept. 17, 1999, for input into the commission report.

Comments and statements should be sent to Leona Dittus, Executive Director, National Drought Policy Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 6701-S, STOP 0501, Washington, D.C. 20250-0501.

Special accommodations are available and can be provided upon request by contacting the National Drought Policy Commission at (202)720-3168, by fax (202) 720-9688, e-mail Leona_Dittus@WDC.FSA.USDA.GOV


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