Obama pledges help for drought-stricken California

Visitors ride bicycles near the receding waters at Folsom Lake, which is 17 percent of its capacity, in FolsomBy Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will pledge on Friday to speed federal assistance to help California recover from a crippling drought that is threatening the critical agriculture industry in the No. 1 farm state. On a visit to Fresno, California, Obama will promise to make available within 60 days up to $100 million in aid to help California farmers who lost livestock due to drought conditions. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters in a preview of the announcement that Obama will offer “a message of hope and a message that the federal government will do all it can to try to alleviate some of the stress connected with this drought.” During his remarks there, Obama will draw a connection between what is being called the worst California drought in 100 years and global warming. John Holdren, Obama’s top adviser on science and technology, said the global climate has been so extensively impacted by “the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases that weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change.” He said the California drought is probably the strongest of the past 500 years.

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