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Opposing view: Washington won't solve our drought

As appeared in USA Today

Washington, August 10, 2011
Tags: Energy

This year's drought in Texas and much of the southern U.S. has been devastating. In fact, it has been historic. The Texas State Climatologist calls it the most severe one-year drought on record. Last year, my hometown of Clarendon, Texas, recorded 27.95 inches of precipitation. This year, we received a total of 2.08 inches through Aug. 10.

My family has been ranching in northern Texas for more than 120 years, and we have never seen or felt anything like it. But the solution to the drought will not come from Washington, and the federal government could well add to our problems.

Studying the Earth's climate is important. We should try to improve our understanding of weather to include how it is changing and what may be causing those changes. Jumping to conclusions and inflicting real hardship on people based on computer simulations, however, does not make sense.

Any decisions we make should be based on sound science rather than political, social or personal profit agendas. No computer model yet has correctly predicted the Earth's actual temperatures. We simply do not understand enough about the causes and effects related to our weather.

Yet, some in Washington continue to push for new regulations and added taxes based upon those flawed models. Their policies would cost us jobs as the economy continues to struggle.

Many of the people who earn their living on the land and are most affected by the drought will be the very ones most hurt by "cap and trade" and similar proposals. Everyone, however, will pay higher prices for energy and for the things we buy. And because China and others will not impose the same policies, the net effect is that we would become less competitive, hurting our own people for questionable benefit at best.

Washington should be implementing policies that create jobs and economic growth. There will always be those who want to exploit hardship to push their agenda, but my part of the country cannot afford the taxes and regulations they want to impose on us. A prayer for rain, however, would be appreciated.


Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Republican, represents Texas' 13th congressional district.