Tsumani Preparedness Legislation Clears House
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation authorizing the expansion of the Tsunami Warning System to the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The bill also authorizes funds to assist community-based mitigation programs improve tsunami preparedness in at-risk areas of the United States.
"Catastrophic tsunamis are rare events, but we must never neglect the fact that they can happen here at home," stated Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN). "Preparedness saves lives and legislation like this can put the informational tools in place for us to be as well-equipped as possible."
H.R. 1674, the United States Tsunami Warning and Education Act, provides funds for tsunami detection, warning, research and mitigation programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The legislation was first approved by the House Committee on Science in 2005.
"The Indian Ocean tragedy reminded us of the need to have the best early warning and evacuation plan in place," stated Environment, Technology and Standards Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. David Wu (D-OR). "This bill helps to ensure Americans have the resources they need to keep their families and neighbors safe." Scientists say it is a matter of when, not if, a 9.0 coastal earthquake and resulting tsunami will hit the West Coast. Such a catastrophic event will come without warning and devastate the Pacific Northwest coast, including many coastal communities in Congressman Wu's district.
Science Committee Democrats successfully advocated for increased funding for the Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program which matches federal and state funds to support creation of inundation models that help with the assessment of vulnerable inner coastal areas, community outreach and education networks that ensure readiness, and technical training in local communities.