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Release No. 1428.00


Dann Stuart (202) 690-0474


WASHINGTON, February 3, 2000--The National Drought Policy Commission today announced that it will hold its next public hearing on February 17-18, 2000, in Billings, Montana.

The Commission will conduct a public hearing on February 17, 2000, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and February 18, 2000, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, Auditorium, 415 N 30th Street, Billings, Montana. All times are Mountain Standard Time.

The Commission was established to provide advice and recommendations on the creation of an integrated, coordinated Federal drought emergency policy. Its assignment is 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 also will include means of improving public awareness of the need for drought mitigation, prevention, and response.

Anyone wishing to make an oral presentation to the Commission at the public hearing, must contact the Executive Director, Leona Dittus, in writing (by letter, fax or Internet) no later than COB, February 11, 2000, in order to be included on the agenda. Presenters will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis. 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.

Thirty-five copies of any written presentation material must be given to the Executive Director by all presenters no later than the time of the presentation for distribution to the Commission and the interested public. Those wishing to testify, but who are unable to notify the Commission office by February 11, 2000, will be able to sign up as a presenter the day of the hearing, February 17, 2000, between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. and February 18, 2000, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. All times are Mountain Standard Time. 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 public hearing, or may be mailed or faxed to the Commission office.

Persons with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate in this meeting should contact Leona Dittus, on 202-720-3168, or Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339, e-mail, by COB February 11, 2000.

Further information is available from the Commission’s web site, located at Comments and statements should be sent to Leona Dittus, Executive Director, National Drought Policy Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 6701-S, STOP 0501, Washington, D.C. 20250-0501.



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