Operation Dust Bowl Download PDF
How Hugh Bennett saved Colorado—and the nation—from one of the worst environmental disasters in human history.
On Friday, April 19, 1935, Hugh Bennett entered Room 333 in a U.S. Senate office building in Washington, D.C., and seated himself at a conference table alongside members of the congressional subcommittee for public lands and surveys. Bennett, 54, directed the Soil Erosion Service, a division established by the U.S. Department of the Interior two years earlier, and he’d been invited to testify about the erosion problem on American farms. While the senators present knew about the dust raking the High Plains—including all of southeastern Colorado—they considered the issue a localized nuisance. Congress had been deliberating House Resolution 7054, which would fund a national soil conservation service, managed under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Bennett was there to tell the senators why the resolution needed to pass immediately. Continue reading