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house Bill H.R. 654

Does the Pacific Northwest Need an Early Warning System for Earthquakes and Tsunamis?

Argument in favor

Major earthquakes have occurred off the Pacific Northwest coast in the past, and the tsunami the next one causes could kill tens of thousands of people. An early warning system would give locals more time to get to a safe place when their current lead time is as little as 10 minutes after the ground stops shaking.

Ryan's Opinion
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03/26/2017
With millions of lives at risk, and little-to-no warning system in place, this seems like a no-brainer.
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JenniferL's Opinion
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03/26/2017
We need to do whatever we can to try to prevent a tragedy. This is a small percentage of what this Republican administration has spent traveling to the "Winter Whitehouse."
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Leslie's Opinion
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03/26/2017
These states are huge contributors to our national tax coffers, so spending here seems fair. If we are unprepared for a major seismic event, the deviation would have a massive cost to our economy, not to mention the possible lives lost. This is the kind of infrastructure we need to update / implement.
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Argument opposed

The fault that could cause a major earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific Northwest — the Cascadia Subduction Zone — has historically had such sudden, violent quakes that a warning system would be of limited value. Besides, the next “big” earthquake could be relatively mild or not occur for hundreds of years.

andreww88's Opinion
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03/26/2017
This is another bill that will increase national debt and put more power in the hands of the federal government. The state governments together can put an emergency warning system together, without FEMA. Also, it would be more efficient than a federal one too probably.
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operaman's Opinion
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03/27/2017
My wife and I RVed through OR and WA for years. Big signs Warning of Tsunami all along the ocean coast. This bill wants the Red states to pay for Blue states specific needs regarding tsunamis or earthquakes. Guess Socialism may have run out of money and looking for a Federal bailout. California, another socialist state spending their reserves supporting illegal immigrants. The shoe 👠 falls.
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TuckerWantsLiberty's Opinion
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03/26/2017
Not one paid for by people not living there. I have no idea if one is necessary, but if one is then it should be considered a cost of living there and not foisted upon the entire nation. If the Pacific Northwest wants this, let them pay for it, but don't make me.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  • The house Passed March 27th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 395 Yea / 11 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

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Bill Details

Official information provided by the Congressional Research Service. Learn more or make a suggestion.
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Title

Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness Act of 2017

Official Title

To direct the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to carry out a plan for the purchase and installation of an earthquake early warning system for the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and for other purposes.

Summary

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on March 9, 2017. The summary of that version is repeated here.) Pacific Northwest Earthquake Preparedness Act of 2017 (Sec. 2) This bill requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to: (1) develop a plan for the purchase and installation of an earthquake early warning system for the Cascadia Subduction Zone, and (2) identify the funds necessary for its implementation. Such zone is the landward-dipping fault that is approximately 684 miles long, separates the Juan de Fuca and North America plates, and stretches along the western coast of the United States from Cape Mendocino, California, to Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. (Sec. 3) The President shall establish an Earthquake and Tsunami Task Force for the purpose of developing a comprehensive strategy and recommendations on how the nation should prepare and plan for, mitigate against, respond to, recover from, and more successfully adapt to an earthquake, tsunami, or combined earthquake and tsunami event in such zone. Such recommendations shall include recommendations on: (1) administrative or legislative changes and funding required to implement the strategy, and (2) the order of priority for implementation of the strategy. The Task Force shall enter into an agreement with the National Academies for developing recommendations for a federal research strategy to advance scientific understanding of a zone earthquake and resulting tsunami preparedness. (Sec. 4) FEMA shall be responsible for the nation's efforts to reduce the loss of life and property, and to protect the nation, from an earthquake, tsunami, or combined earthquake and tsunami event by developing the ability to prepare and plan for, mitigate against, respond to, recover from, and more successfully adapt to such an event. (Sec. 5) The bill amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to authorize recipients to use hazard mitigation assistance to conduct activities to help reduce the risk of future damage, hardship, loss, or suffering in any area affected by earthquake hazards, including making improvements to: regional seismic networks in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning; geodetic networks in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning; and seismometers, Global Positioning System receivers, and associated infrastructure in support of building a capability for earthquake early warning.
    With millions of lives at risk, and little-to-no warning system in place, this seems like a no-brainer.
    Like (215)
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    This is another bill that will increase national debt and put more power in the hands of the federal government. The state governments together can put an emergency warning system together, without FEMA. Also, it would be more efficient than a federal one too probably.
    Like (41)
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    We need to do whatever we can to try to prevent a tragedy. This is a small percentage of what this Republican administration has spent traveling to the "Winter Whitehouse."
    Like (155)
    Follow
    Share
    These states are huge contributors to our national tax coffers, so spending here seems fair. If we are unprepared for a major seismic event, the deviation would have a massive cost to our economy, not to mention the possible lives lost. This is the kind of infrastructure we need to update / implement.
    Like (112)
    Follow
    Share
    Please pass this bill - I was living in Tokyo at the time of the 3/11 earthquake & tsunami, and subsequent reactor disaster at Fukushima. Japan's early warning system saved countless lives, and we desperately need something similar to protect the west coast of the US. Living in California we are constantly under threat of earthquake, and yet no warning system and very little preparedness is in place. The same is true for the Pacific Northwest, and developing early warning protections in one area will help the science advance overall, and help the warning systems spread to other needed areas, like California.
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    It would be nice to know more about this. There is no summary of the bill.
    Like (66)
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    A commenter opposed to an early warning system for the Northwest thought that it shouldn't be paid for by those who don't live there. Another doesn't seem to think that 'red states' should have to pay for the specific needs of 'blue states.' By that reckoning, there would be no United States if people in Idaho, for example wouldn't want to help those in states prone to hurricanes. We can't live as red versus blue or as every state for itself. When a disaster strikes, we are all in it together. If an early warning system can save lives, why wouldn't we implement it, just as we have Doppler Radar that can forecast severe weather events? This important technology is necessary and deserves funding.
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    Seismic preparedness is always a yes
    Like (39)
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    I can sympathize with the nay voters who feel the PNW should pay for this themselves. But the PNW helps pay for all the natural disasters that affect the rest of the country, the tornados, floods, hurricanes, etc. This is why humans work together- I take care of you, you take care of me.
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    My wife and I RVed through OR and WA for years. Big signs Warning of Tsunami all along the ocean coast. This bill wants the Red states to pay for Blue states specific needs regarding tsunamis or earthquakes. Guess Socialism may have run out of money and looking for a Federal bailout. California, another socialist state spending their reserves supporting illegal immigrants. The shoe 👠 falls.
    Like (37)
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    Not one paid for by people not living there. I have no idea if one is necessary, but if one is then it should be considered a cost of living there and not foisted upon the entire nation. If the Pacific Northwest wants this, let them pay for it, but don't make me.
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    No brainer
    Like (23)
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    Considering the potential loss of life, we should take as much precaution as possible.
    Like (22)
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    I'd rather you spend my money on clean air and water, education and infrastructure, thank you very much.
    Like (18)
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    As a nation, we all help each other in crisis. I'm sure a disproportionate amount of California tax dollars go to FEMA emergencies in other states. You don't see us crying foul when a tornado hits - also "the cost" of living in a certain area of the country.
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    This is a major earthquake zone. I lived through some of them there when I was young. It is also a huge tsunami zone (brought on by earthquakes). It is expected by experts that we are way overdue for a very large earthquake in this area. Please pass this bill to give people a chance at survival and for businesses to prepare!
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    The bill costs relatively little, and statistically we are about due for a quake in that area. It is logical to have FEMA oversee an interstate effort of this sort.
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    Why does the Federal Govt. need to handle this? I would think the elected individuals for the areas (States) effected by this handle it? Those states could even work together. Task colleges with bright students and related programs to develop actual real time solutions.
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    Most definitely needed! The Pacific NW is in huge danger of a catastrophic earthquake in the next 50 years and our infrastructure is greatly in need of earthquake readiness and funding to do so.
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    Why is this even a questionable thing?
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