Congressional Research Service Report Released: Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for CongressThe Congressional Research Service (CRS), the public policy research arm of Congress,in August released a report titled, Drought in the United States: Causes and Issues for Congress (August 15, 2012). The brief 34 page report authored by Peter Folger, Betsy A. Cody and Nicole T. Carter was written to discuss:
how drought is defined (e.g., why drought in one region of the country is different from drought in another region), and why drought occurs in the United States. How droughts are classified, and what is meant by moderate, severe, and extreme drought classifications, are also discussed. The report briefly describes periods of drought in the country’s past that equaled or exceeded drought conditions experienced during the 20th century. This is followed by a discussion of the future prospects for a climate in the West that would be drier than the average 20th century climate. The report concludes with a primer on policy challenges for Congress, such as the existing federal/non-federal split in drought response and management and the patchwork of drought programs subject to oversight by multiple congressional committees.