Biden to travel to Kentucky, survey storm damage
Several farms, ag businesses devastated
President Biden will travel to Kentucky on Wednesday to survey the tornado damage that has killed at least 74 people in that state and also caused extensive damage to farms.
Biden will visit Fort Campbell, Ky., for a storm briefing and to Mayfield and Dawson Springs, Ky., to survey storm damage.
The announcement of the president’s travel came as Biden delivered remarks on the situation following a briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, who were in Kentucky just one day after the tornado subsided to meet with the governor and other state and local officials.
Biden called the damage “devastating,” but resisted the idea that he should make the argument that climate change caused the situation and that he should tell Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., that the storm demonstrates that the Build Back Better bill is needed. Biden said Manchin has been through disasters in West Virginia and understands. The president added, “We have to be very careful. We can’t say with absolute certainty that it was because of climate change.”
Biden said he would consult with the Environmental Protection Agency about the causes, but that “as a matter of fact, some of it has to do with El Niño.”
“There’s – there’s a lot of things that we don’t know for certain, and I don’t want to say anything that is not precisely true,” Biden said. “What is certain: It is one of the worst tornado disasters we’ve had in the country. And the second thing that’s certain is that it is unusual. It is unusual how it happened, how many places it touched down, and the length of the path.”
Meanwhile, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, an elected Republican, confirmed severe damage to farms and other agricultural facilities including the University of Kentucky’s research farm that has been a leading institution on hemp.
Quarles confirmed on Facebook the following losses in agriculture:
▪ Mayfield Grain Co.
▪ Hutson Deere dealership
▪ Pilgrims hatcheries
▪ University of Kentucky Princeton Research Farm
▪ Graves County Food Bank
▪ Multiple chicken houses
▪ Grain systems from Mayfield to Bowling Green
▪ Still assessing livestock losses
“We are working with producers and EPA to provide adequate plans for animal health and disposal efforts,” Quarles said. “For agricultural-specific donations, we are working with Kentucky Farm Bureau and Extension to gather specific requests so we do not duplicate efforts. Expect more on ag efforts soon.”
For humanitarian relief, Quarles said, consider donating to the following:
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzer, a Democrat, also issued a disaster proclamation for several counties across central and southern Illinois, including Sangamon County, impacted by the weekend tornados and storms.
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