As the news of devastation from wildfires in the bone-dry state of Oklahoma spread through the nation, Lyndon LaRouche on Aug. 4 called for immediate action by Congress, to adopt the policies required to deal with the wildfire crisis. This is a long-term problem which could have been prevented if we had acted earlier, LaRouche said. Now, we cannot sit back and let large parts of our nation be destroyed.
Congress did not go into recess, and can be called back immediately to deal with crises precisely like this, LaRouche added, which are not only destroying homes and disrupting lives, but threatening our food supply. This is one of the issues that must be taken up during the month of August.
The scope of the drought crisis, which has been intensifying over recent decades, is stunning. More than half of the nation's counties are currently designated as agricultural disasters, of which 90% are due to drought and heat. The resulting destruction of major grains, especially corn, is creating a livestock emergency, and leading to liquidation of herds throughout the country.
The associated danger is the wildfires, which, while not yet at record levels, are raging particularly in the West. There are currently 33 large fires (100 acres or more in timber, 300 acres of more in grass) burning more than 223,000 acres in 13 states. States are scrambling to find the resources, which have been cut both locally and nationally, due to the immoral bailout policy. The Wildland Fire Management budget, and the budgets of the National Weather Service, FEMA, and the Army Corps of Engineers have all been cut under Obama. The Forest Service has only 11 tankers to dump water on fires; ten years ago it had 44!
The national shortfalls are compounded by the fact that state budgets are also being cut back, due to the failure of Congress to take up the emergency measures required to restart the economy.
More than 24 years ago, in the drought year of 1988, then Democratic Presidential pre-candidate Lyndon LaRouche addressed the Oklahoma State Legislature with a full plan for national emergency action to deal with the banking, job, and physical economic crisis then sweeping that state and the nation, including the proposal to build the National Water and Power Alliance (NAWAPA) water management program, which would directly address the water shortages now contributing to the Western states' drought/wildfire crisis.
Today, with the whole trans-Atlantic region facing an physical-economic breakdown crisis that threatens millions of human lives in the short term, LaRouche PAC has updated that program into a three-step plan: 1) Reinstate FDR's Glass-Steagall; 2) Re-establish National Banking along the lines of Alexander Hamilton's credit system; and 3) immediately launch great projects, starting with NAWAPA XXI, which would create 6 millions jobs in the short term. A bill calling for the reinstatement of Glass-Steagall (H.R. 1489) is currently before the Congress with 79 sponsors—and immediate action to ram it through is the first step to launching the rescue plans needed to deal with the consequences of the last decades' policy disaster. Stopping the bailouts for the Wall Street gambling casino, will free government to provide the immediate funds and resources to deal with what is now a fait accompli.