The return of the Dust Bowl?

Clarice Feldman and Rosslyn Smith
 As if mortgage foreclosures, misguided government economic policies and growing threats abroad aren't enough for those who like historical analogies here's yet another similarity between recent history and the Great Depression. 

Oklahoma was drier in the four months following Thanksgiving than it has been in any similar period since 1921. That's saying a lot in the state known for the 1930s Dust Bowl, when drought and high winds generated severe dust storms that stripped the land of its topsoil.

Neighboring states are in similar shape as the drought stretches from the Louisiana Gulf coast to Colorado, and conditions are getting worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The area in Texas covered by an extreme drought has tripled in the past month to 40 percent, and in Oklahoma it nearly doubled in one week to 16 percent, according to the monitor's March 29 update.

For a graphic depiction of both the severity and the extent of this drought, check out the current map at US Drought Monitor, which is updated every Thursday. (This drought also extends across most of Northern Mexico, but the record level since its creation in 1990.   


 
Just for fun, plot the above chart against key dates in the history of the use of western government subsidies and mandates on ethanol use.  In the United States the law enacting the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC)  was passed in October, 2004. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandating that specific minimum volumes of ethanol be blended with gasoline in the national fuel pool was enacted in August 8, 2005 and then amened to increase those amounts in December, 2007. 
 As if mortgage foreclosures, misguided government economic policies and growing threats abroad aren't enough for those who like historical analogies here's yet another similarity between recent history and the Great Depression. 

Oklahoma was drier in the four months following Thanksgiving than it has been in any similar period since 1921. That's saying a lot in the state known for the 1930s Dust Bowl, when drought and high winds generated severe dust storms that stripped the land of its topsoil.

Neighboring states are in similar shape as the drought stretches from the Louisiana Gulf coast to Colorado, and conditions are getting worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The area in Texas covered by an extreme drought has tripled in the past month to 40 percent, and in Oklahoma it nearly doubled in one week to 16 percent, according to the monitor's March 29 update.

For a graphic depiction of both the severity and the extent of this drought, check out the current map at US Drought Monitor, which is updated every Thursday. (This drought also extends across most of Northern Mexico, but the record level since its creation in 1990.   


 
Just for fun, plot the above chart against key dates in the history of the use of western government subsidies and mandates on ethanol use.  In the United States the law enacting the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC)  was passed in October, 2004. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) mandating that specific minimum volumes of ethanol be blended with gasoline in the national fuel pool was enacted in August 8, 2005 and then amened to increase those amounts in December, 2007.