Tue, 20 Sep 2022 04:45:42 CDT
Last week, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt activated the Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission. Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam and Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director Julie Cunningham make up the Commission and they have set the first meeting of the Commission for 10:00 a.m. on September 21, 2022 in the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Building Board Room.
The ramping up of the Commission by the Governor is in response to the persistent drought that Oklahoma has been battling for months. Currently- 48% of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, and 99% of the state is abnormally dry or worse, based on the most recent Drought Monitor.
Oklahoma’s Emergency Drought Commission, enabled through passage of Enrolled House Bill 1923 in 2013, provides funding for drought mitigation and related projects in Oklahoma in conjunction with a formal gubernatorial drought declaration.
The Emergency Drought Commission shall determine the expenditures to be made from the Emergency Drought Relief Fund, totaling up to three million dollars as appropriated by House Bill 2959, and shall determine the appropriate agency to expend the funds. The activities of the Emergency Drought Commission shall continue until it is determined by the Governor that a drought emergency no longer exists in the state. Specific assistance projects are limited to the affected counties and must be approved by the Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission. The Emergency Drought Commission also serves as a permanent drought advisory panel to the Governor and appropriate state agencies.
The Emergency Drought Commission shall have the authority to consider requests for use of Emergency Drought Relief Funds from proposed projects located, or operating, within one, or more, of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, in accordance with EO 2022-23.
During the meeting on Wednesday, an opportunity will be given for individuals to make a public comment. Comments should specifically address ideas for how Emergency Drought Relief Funds should best be utilized.
Click here for the agenda of the meeting planned for Wednesday at 10 am in the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Building Board Room.