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senate Bill S. 1768

Should the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Be Reauthorized?

Argument in favor

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program provides important support for earthquake research, detection, and response. Without this program, it’d be difficult for states and researchers to get the money they need to keep communities safe.

burrkitty's Opinion
···
11/26/2018
Seismic waves don’t respect state borders. This is one of those things that doing without it is just shortsighted stupidity. Also, only idiots think Arizona doesn’t have earthquakes. Arizona has active faults that run through the state. The Northern Arizona Seismic Belt, which runs from Flagstaff to Utah, comprises dozens of active faults. The Lake Mary Fault just south of Flagstaff could produce an earthquake up to a magnitude of 7. The Hurricane Fault, also in Northern Arizona, could produce an earthquake up to 7.5 magnitude. Other faults and their potential magnitudes include the Algodones Fault in southwestern Arizona (6.6 magnitude), the Big Chino Fault in central Arizona (7 magnitude), and the Safford Fault in eastern Arizona (6.5 magnitude). The Santa Rita Fault southeast of Tucson could have an earthquake up to magnitude 7. ANYWHERE in North America that is not on the Canadian Shield section of the North American Craton has potential for earthquakes.
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Deacon kevin's Opinion
···
11/27/2018
With increasing volatility due to fracking, and the fact we are overdue on some major faults, development of the best early warnings system we can is critical and should be a government function.
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NoHedges's Opinion
···
11/26/2018
With the ongoing unbalanced fracking expanding deeper into residential communities, it is crucial that we understand and protect these communities from man made natural disasters. And since this is taxpayer money the research should be made available to the taxpayers free of charge.
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Argument opposed

There’s already significant earthquake detection infrastructure in place in the most earthquake-prone parts of the U.S., making continued National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program funding less critical than it was at the program’s inception.

David's Opinion
···
11/27/2018
The Federal Gov’t is close to being bankrupt. It’s time to shut off the free flow of money. This program has been well funded in the past, it’s time to eliminate their funding and let them survive on their own.
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David's Opinion
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11/27/2018
I like the idea of less government. Nothing personal.
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WhiskeyBravo's Opinion
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11/26/2018
Stop spending. Insurance companies should and would handle this. This is just feds taking on their work at taxpayer expense.
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bill Progress


  • EnactedDecember 11th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed November 27th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
  • The senate Passed September 27th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
    IntroducedSeptember 6th, 2017

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What is Senate Bill S. 1768?

This bill — the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act — would permanently reauthorize the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). It would also expand activities under the NEHRP to include: 1) gathering information on community resilience (i.e., the ability of a community to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to earthquakes); 2) publishing a systematic set of maps of active faults and folds, liquefaction susceptibility, susceptibility for earthquake-induced landslides, and other seismically induced hazards; and 3) continuing the development of the Advanced National Seismic System, including earthquake early warning capabilities.

The agencies which would see their earthquake hazard reduction duties revised or expanded include the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and National Science Foundation (NSF). Tthe Government Accountability Office (GAO) would be required to complete a review of risks posed by earthquakes to the U.S.

NIST and FEMA would convene a joint committee of experts to assess and recommend options for improving seismic safety standards for federal buildings. The USGS must submit to Congress a five-year management plan for the continued operation of the Advanced National Seismic System.


Impact

Earthquake-prone states; NEHRP; NIST; FEMA; USGS; NSF; and GAO.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1768

$596.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $596 million over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced this bill to reauthorize the NEHRP program to improve the U.S.’ earthquake preparedness and modernize earthquake-safety programs that help states prepare for and respond to earthquakes:

“When it comes to a catastrophic earthquake, it’s not a matter of if it will occur, it’s a matter of when. I believe it’s important that we recognize this threat and do all we can to plan for the worst. By reauthorizing the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, we will ensure that vital research, assistance to states, and development of early-warning systems continue.”

The Seismological Society of America (SSA) supports the NEHRP’s reauthorization. In a written statement, the SSA’s Board of Directors writes:

“Seventy-five percent of the United States population is exposed to significant risks from earthquakes, and the majority of those risks are concentrated in urban areas. Damage to buildings by earthquakes is estimated at $6.1 billion per year nationwide, but total losses from earthquakes to the economy are estimated to be much larger. NEHRP is the federal government’s coordinated long-term nationwide program to reduce risks to life and property resulting from earthquakes, and to facilitate social, economic and industrial recovery after a major earthquake… NEHRP is essential for coordinating the work of key federal agencies that address earthquake-related issues (FEMA, NIST, NSF and USGS). It focuses the efforts of these agencies on the activities that our nation most needs to improve its earthquake resilience. The NEHRP agencies work in partnership to perform a national service that cannot be duplicated by others, with each agency fulfilling its unique role without overlapping with the roles of its partners. The agencies responsible for NEHRP collaborate extensively with the academic, public, and private sectors to produce critical research and data that directly support improvements to building codes, and community and commercial planning. Without NEHRP as a catalyst, these improvements would likely not be implemented. The agencies also deliver reliable real-time assessment of earthquake activity in the US and worldwide for effective emergency response, and to protect both domestic and global US interests… Reauthorization is critical to the full implementation of NEHRP and the successful translation of research into actions and results that protects the nation from the devastating effects of a major earthquake.”

This bill passed the Senate unanimously with the support of nine cosponsors, including six Democrats and three Republicans, and has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. It has the support of the American Institute of Architects, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Association of American State Geologists, the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, the Geological Society of America, the National Council of Structural Engineers Associations, the National Emergency Management Association, and the American Geophysical Union.


Of NoteUnder the NEHRP, four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction: USGS, NSF, FEMA, and the NIST. These agencies assess U.S. earthquake hazards, deliver notifications of seismic events, develop measures to reduce earthquake hazards, and conduct research to help reduce overall U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes. Congressional oversight of the NEHRP program encompasses how well the four agencies coordinate their activities to address the earthquake hazard.

Since its initial authorization in 1977, NEHRP has helped communities prepare for and protect against earthquakes by coordinating earthquake hazard risk reduction efforts at the federal, state, and local levels.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / hepatus)

AKA

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2018

Official Title

A bill to reauthorize and amend the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, and for other purposes.

    Seismic waves don’t respect state borders. This is one of those things that doing without it is just shortsighted stupidity. Also, only idiots think Arizona doesn’t have earthquakes. Arizona has active faults that run through the state. The Northern Arizona Seismic Belt, which runs from Flagstaff to Utah, comprises dozens of active faults. The Lake Mary Fault just south of Flagstaff could produce an earthquake up to a magnitude of 7. The Hurricane Fault, also in Northern Arizona, could produce an earthquake up to 7.5 magnitude. Other faults and their potential magnitudes include the Algodones Fault in southwestern Arizona (6.6 magnitude), the Big Chino Fault in central Arizona (7 magnitude), and the Safford Fault in eastern Arizona (6.5 magnitude). The Santa Rita Fault southeast of Tucson could have an earthquake up to magnitude 7. ANYWHERE in North America that is not on the Canadian Shield section of the North American Craton has potential for earthquakes.
    Like (43)
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    The Federal Gov’t is close to being bankrupt. It’s time to shut off the free flow of money. This program has been well funded in the past, it’s time to eliminate their funding and let them survive on their own.
    Like (9)
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    With increasing volatility due to fracking, and the fact we are overdue on some major faults, development of the best early warnings system we can is critical and should be a government function.
    Like (22)
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    With the ongoing unbalanced fracking expanding deeper into residential communities, it is crucial that we understand and protect these communities from man made natural disasters. And since this is taxpayer money the research should be made available to the taxpayers free of charge.
    Like (18)
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    It is crucial that our great country maintain proper crisis management plans.
    Like (14)
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    I’m not a geologist yet, still in school for it, but uh, I hear earthquakes can be pretty scary and dangerous? IDK, never felt one. I live in Houston, and we don’t really get many land-based natural disasters. Anyway, this seems like a no-brainer.
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    Earthquakes are a big problem in this country and with the continuation of Fracking by the Oil Industry they are happening in places that never had earthquakes and at a frequency so the need for earthquake study & protections of people & animals IS more now.
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    The power of natural disasters cannot be measured in pounds or inches. It cannot be weighed otherwise we could prepare a stop for it. We may only clean the consequences after the disaster has struck. That is why this type legislation is necessary.
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    This has to be one of most no-brainer pieces of legislation. Given how earthquake-prone our country is especially on the west coast, these programs are critical.
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    Every time we have another big quake, we have to go through this dumb game of figuring out who to blame for the LAST time earthquate harm reduction was defunded. It's a stupid game, and we should just admit that the geological forces of this planet we live on are actually a LOT more powerful and pervasive than we are, and it's on US to figure out how to survive them on a regular basis.
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    On the west coast we are part of the ring of fire
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    California needs all the protections from earthquakes that are available.
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    Prevention is cheaper than restoration.
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    I like the idea of less government. Nothing personal.
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    Increased fracking has increased the number of earthquakes in my state. There is the potential for great harm. I am in favor of increased research into the dangers in particular areas.
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    Among the purposes of having a central government is to coordinate efforts to combat problems that transcend local boundaries or problems that affect everyone but which no one wants to pay for because it's "someone else's problem". Additionally, money spent in this way contributes to the success of the United States due to the knowledge it generates and research it fosters.
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    Collective knowledge wanes over time. Not only the individual behaviors that must be adhered to during a natural disaster but the engineering infrastructure that must be refreshed on a weekly, monthly, annual and ten-year basis are co-essential to averting the loss of life and economic devastation that accompany disasters akin to earthquakes.
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    This sounds good, since people in Kansas are creating earthquakes from fracking. In Kansas. Earthquakes.
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    This is just something that should proceed without controversy. Saving lives is worth spending taxpayer dollars.
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    Disaster preparation is simply a matter of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure. If it’s considered wasteful government spending, so is cancer research, military funding, schools and everything else that has long term payoff on investment.
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