FRESNO (CBS/AP) — President Barack Obama announced Friday more than $160 million in federal financial aid to California.
Obama spoke Friday at a roundtable with community leaders in California, which is in the midst of its worst drought in more than 100 years.
The president unveiled a number of measures to address the drought including:
- $100 million in Livestock Disaster Assistance for California
- $15 million for Conservation Assistance in Extreme Drought Areas
- $5 million in Watershed Protection
- $60 million for food banks in California to help families economically impacted by the drought
- $3 million for Emergency Water Assistance in rural communities
The millions of dollars in federal aid were announced in the midst of a battle in Congress over what to do about the water crisis. Last week, House Republicans passed a bill that would roll back environmental protections while supplying additional water to farmers in the Central Valley.
On Tuesday, senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer introduced a water bill in the Senate that would provide $300 million in drought aid and give federal officials flexibility in managing pumping operations in the San Joaquin River Delta without waiving the Endangered Species Act. But some environmentalists say they’re concerned that the Feinstein-Boxer bill doesn’t go far enough to protect the environment.
Obama, accompanied by Feinstein, Boxer, Gov. Jerry Brown and Rep. Jim Costa, and says he came to listen. He says the entire country is deeply dependent on California producers for products used in people’s daily lives. He says because of the huge economic interest, there’s a national concern about the drought.
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