06.01.17

Reps. Schiff, DeFazio, DelBene Send Letter to POTUS Criticizing Elimination of West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System

President Trump’s FY2018 Budget Eliminates Critical Federal Funding for ShakeAlert

Pasadena, CA – Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Suzan DelBene (D-WA) sent a letter to President Trump expressing grave concern that the White House eliminated funding for the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system in its Fiscal Year 2018 budget request.

“Thanks to federal funding and a sizeable contribution from the state of California last year, the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system is on track to be available to the public on a limited basis next year,” the Members wrote in their letter. “To cut off the funding now will take us backwards and deprive American citizens and businesses along the West Coast of an invaluable tool to protect themselves and their property.”

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been developing the system in conjunction with Caltech, UC Berkeley, the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. Eliminating funding for the long-planned ShakeAlert system would threaten life, property, and critical infrastructure on the West Coast.

The full text of their letter is below:

Dear Mr. President:

 

We would like to convey our grave concerns with the decision to eliminate funding for the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system in your Fiscal Year 2018 budget request. This relatively inexpensive and proven technology will save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce the economic impact of an earthquake. 

 

Support for the system has been sustained and increasing over the past few years. Congress appropriated $5 million for the system in FY15, $8.2 million in FY16, and $10.2 in FY17, demonstrating a growing, bipartisan appreciation for the system’s utility. A major earthquake on the West Coast could cause billions of dollars in damage and endanger countless lives. Earthquake Early Warning is a cost-effective investment to protect critical infrastructure, including utilities and manufacturers, from the damage caused by a major earthquake. 

 

Earthquake Early Warning technology has been deployed for years in other nations including Japan and Mexico. Thanks to federal funding and a sizeable contribution from the state of California last year, the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system is on track to be available to the public on a limited basis next year. To cut off the funding now will take us backwards and deprive American citizens and businesses along the West Coast of an invaluable tool to protect themselves and their property. We will be working to ensure that the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system continues to receive crucial federal funding, because investing in this technology now could save lives when a large earthquake strikes, and we would welcome your support for this critical project in the future.

 

Sincerely,

 

Adam Schiff (CA-28)

Member of Congress

 

Peter DeFazio (OR-04)

Member of Congress

Suzan DelBene (WA-01)

Member of Congress