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Climate-Science Denying Governor Perry Renews Declaration Of Drought Disaster Throughout Texas

By Jeff Spross on June 23, 2013 at 10:41 am

"Climate-Science Denying Governor Perry Renews Declaration Of Drought Disaster Throughout Texas"

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(Credit: AP photo)

Rick Perry, the Republican Governor of Texas and one of the country’s most prominent and outspoken climate change deniers, renewed a proclamation this past week declaring a drought emergency in over 200 counties throughout the state. The original declaration came on July 5, 2011. It suspended “all rules and regulations that may inhibit or prevent prompt response to this threat” as long as the disaster declaration remained in effect, and authorized “all necessary measures” to assist in responding.

“Record high temperatures, preceded by significantly low rainfall, have resulted in declining reservoir and aquifer levels, threatening water supplies and delivery systems in many parts of the state,” the proclamation states. “Prolonged dry conditions continue to increase the threat of wildfire across many portions of the state; and… these drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy.”

What’s striking about this frank admission of the way extreme weather is ravaging Texas is that it stands alongside Perry’s ongoing dogged refusalbacked by many of the state’s other Republicans — to acknowledge the science that links these weather shifts to climate change and human-driven global warming.

In the last few years, Perry has called the data on Global warming “doctored,” claimed the “so-called science” has been “hijacked by the political left,” and said “it’s all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.”

All the while, Texas is laboring under the third-worst drought to hit the state since record keeping began in 1895 — and that’s after enduring a series of droughts in the 2000s. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 95.24 percent of Texas’ area is in a category of dryness ranging from “abnormally dry” to “exceptional drought” — the latter being the most severe level. In May it was 98.55 percent, in September it was 90.87 percent, and last April it was 81.40 percent.

The heat and lack of precipitation has hit the state’s rice farmers and beef production industries especially hard. On top of that, Texas just lost a Supreme Court fight with Oklahoma over water rights, and has allocated $5 million for another water-based legal dispute with New Mexico. All told, the drought is costing Texas something on the level of 115,000 jobs and $11.9 billion in losses to its economy every year the dryness continues. All of which makes Perry’s blithe disregard for climate change’s potential to permanently remake rainfall patterns in his state especially disturbing.

Mercifully, it isn’t all entirely bad news. After a long tussle that concluded in May, the state legislature passed, and Perry signed into law, a bill authorizing $2 billion to start a revolving fund to invest in local and regional water projects aimed at meeting Texas’ long-term water needs. The measure is ultimately contingent on voter approval, which will be decided in November.

Unfortunately, the Texas Water Development Board estimates that, if business as usual remains unchanged, the state will be short 8.3 million acre-feet of water by 2060. (Three acre-feet is roughly equivalent to one million gallons.) And even if it passes, it’s not at all clear the ambitions of the water fund match the scale of Texas’ future water challenges.

It’s certainly good to see Perry and other Texas lawmakers moving to address their state’s challenges with concrete policies and investment. But it would certainly help if they actually came to grips with the climate change that’s going to keep making droughts drier, hotter, and longer with every passing decade.

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39 Responses to Climate-Science Denying Governor Perry Renews Declaration Of Drought Disaster Throughout Texas

  1. garbonzo says:

    the freakshow that is the GOP, and especially texass, will stand there while the whole place burns, and still say, prayer will make it go away. the real enemy of the USA, and texas.

  2. facts lean left says:

    Stupidity personified.

  3. Lynne says:

    If it’s one thing he’s good at it’s stubborn stupidity. Let’s hope political things change down there before the state is totally destroyed.

  4. Bernard Terway says:

    But, didn’t this governor of the great state of texass pray for rain last year?

  5. Brandon says:

    He’s well known for denying three things… Climate Change, Evolution and… Let’s see… I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry. Oops.

    • Dennis Tomlinson says:

      Brandon, that one earns you the Mulga Mumblebrain Award. Until, and unless Mulga himself makes an appearance.

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        Speak of the Devil etc. The one thing all good deniers do is deny that they are deniers, often heatedly.

  6. Lore says:

    The real question is at what point will people go for want of water for the sake of Eagle Ford Hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil?

    The skunk in the woodpile is so obvious with deniers.

    • Bernard Terway says:

      Yes, Lore, that too. Millions of gallons of water needed for fracking, so let’s just frack the people of Texass. The governor wants money, but you can’t drink money!

    • sandyh says:

      Can’t believe we are risking our ground table water in the name of Big Oil greed. The electorate is like sheep willingly going to the slaughter house.

      • Bernard Terway says:

        We, those opposed to Perry and his ilk, are doing all in our power to change this. Unfortunately, there are people who have only watched on episode of Sesame Street, and that was the one with the letter “R”

  7. Will Fox says:

    Perry is a joke, and a total irrelevance.

  8. sandyh says:

    Let Perry eat and breathe dirt. That’s all will be left of TX when global warming gets done with it and Perry. Once Mexico dams up the Rio Grande River, he will be drinking dirt, too.

  9. Dan Lee Uhl says:

    Yes, come to Texas, and see what an unregulated hellhole does for fire abatement. Have a failing business, and want to cash in on the fire insurance? Come to Texas. They’ll burn it to the ground for you, and you won’t even have to pay state taxes. But why any business that wanted to stay open would choose Texas is a mystery, knowing they’ll have to deal with the reality of exploding chemical plants, annual wildfires that close off parts of the state, and a government that just cut back on fire-fighting resources, heading into a new fire season.

  10. Timothy Hughbanks says:

    If you want an outstanding glimpse into what Rick Perry is all about, you can get cartoonist Nick Anderson’s summary of his many cronies and the thievery they’ve committed in Texas. Here’s Mike Toomey
    – but really, enjoy the whole menagerie of crooks who are “Friends of Perry”.

  11. Jackie says:

    Perry will say anything while high and drunk but when the State is in a drought or on fire and ask for Federal help then after things are ok he threatens to secede. Waco explosion was a disaster made to happen and Perry and other officials were paid to stay silent about the explosives stored. Dick Cheney’s son-in-law lobbied for the support from the lawmakers and got it in the 90′s. we even learned Tim McVeigh brought his explosives from the Waco plant.

  12. Perry intends to turn all of Texas into the Mojave Desert East before those Mexicans all get it.

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Oh yes, climate change impacting fossil fuel extraction…

    “In Valdez, operators of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline marine terminal halted oil-tanker loading for 4 1/2 hours late Monday night and early Tuesday morning as a precaution after temperatures at the terminal hit 92 degrees.”

  14. Paul Magnus says:

    ” renewed a proclamation this past week declaring a drought emergency in over 200 counties throughout the state….. as long as the disaster declaration remained in effect, and authorized “all necessary measures” to assist in responding.”

    I hope Obama announces a declaration of climate emergency (because that is what it is) on tue or soon.

    The reality is that its the only sane action to take now. Really who are we fooling and why?

  15. Paul Magnus says:

    Its tim to put legally aside and get direct action going on tackling #climate.

    “could also prove legally risky. ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/23/obama-is-announcing-new-climate-actions-tuesday-this-chart-explains-why/

  16. Derek says:

    I feel really bad for stating this but I really don’t feel bad for the people of Texas and feel that they are getting what they deserve for denying reality. I loathe admitting it but I feel some justice has been done to the state of Texas in its impending climate disaster. At least it won’t be the world’s poor that ultimately pay for the inaction of the world’s rich. Hopefully the people of Texas will wake up to the climate reality but I fear that it will be too little too late for them and for this they have themselves to blame.

    • Sparky says:

      Be realistic, sir. The most armed private citizens on the planet are not going to idly sit by and die of thirst. Unlike the do-nothing attitude of Democrats, Texans will do exactly what it takes to survive, and will spare no ammunition while doing it. Perry is in denial, yes, but anyone who thinks a political solution is possible is also in denial. People risk their lives every day here, and many die, to get the oil out of the ground. How many activists are equally committed to keeping it IN the ground?

    • Timothy Hughbanks says:

      As a native Seattleite who migrated to Texas 26 years ago, let me disabuse you of the notion that “At least it won’t be the world’s poor that ultimately pay for the inaction of the world’s rich.” Rick Perry just turned away medicaid funding that would have cost the state almost nothing just to score points with his plutocrat-redneck coalition. It most certainly will be the poor people of Texas who bear the brunt of Texas’s climate disaster – just as they bear the brunt of GOP viciousness in ever other area of life. You don’t really expect that people living gated communities in Houston, Dallas, and Austin will be suffering do you?

      • Derek says:

        As a world traveler I can state that the poor of Bangladesh and the poor people of Texas are not comparable. The world’s poor will pay for the inaction of the rich and equating the poor of countries such as Bangladesh or sub-Saharan Africa to poor Texans is absurd. People in these countries will sadly die in droves while the poor of Texas won’t suffer to that degree.

      • Timothy Hughbanks says:

        I agree that equating the poor of Bangladesh and those of Sub saharan Africa with those of Texas is absurd – of course, I never did any such thing.

        I don’t doubt that the effects of climate change will fall even more heavily on the very poor in Bangladesh than on the poor in Texas. An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that if you are ever to be rid of scum like Rick Perry, you are going to need the votes of the poor in Texas. You are going to need to offer something better to them than Rick Perry’s pray-for-rain con game. Vindictiveness concerning the plight of Texas’s poor is not going to help you – it will only make the GOP’s “liberals are elitists” talking point more convincing.

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      Surely not all Texans are bone-heads. Imagine being a sane, rational being, living amongst lunatics high on ignorance, crude and ignorant religiosity and terminal paranoia. No doubt they leave and move to Portland or some other saner clime, making the situation back in Texas just that bit more scary.

  17. Brent Christensen says:

    He appears to have contracted the dreaded “Frog in the Pot” syndrome!! 8|

  18. Mary Morrison says:

    If he ceased denying climate change science, his conservative donor base would cease making those contributions to what he delusionally thinks of as his presidential campaign chest. See, it really is simple.

  19. LJL says:

    Texas, who cares? It could dry up and blow away just as long as it doesn’t steal any FEMA money.

  20. Renshia says:

    Oh Perry, don’t you worry. it’s not climate change, god just hates Texas, that’s all.

  21. runnerin1 says:

    “Record high temperatures, preceded by significantly low rainfall, have resulted in declining reservoir and aquifer levels, threatening water supplies and delivery systems in many parts of the state,” the proclamation states. “Prolonged dry conditions continue to increase the threat of wildfire across many portions of the state; and… these drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public health, property and the economy.”

    In case the governor needs a description of the affects of climate change.

  22. Paul d'Heilly says:

    “8.3 million acre feet by FY2060…” is about 30 years to late.

  23. dsjok says:

    If Texas keeps turning to the Right its going to screw itself right on down into the ground!

    TURN LEFT, TEXAS! TURN LEFT!

    Wise up and vote these jerks out of office!

  24. Robert in New Orleans says:

    The Republic of Tejas is on a rocket sled to disaster. It is only matter of time before the agriculture in the Lone Star collapses and then everything else will follow like a stack of dominoes. But before people in the North dismiss this as a case of I told you so, wait until all of these angry, disaffected and well armed climate refugees arrive at your communities borderline.