Sending Office: Honorable Adam B. Schiff
Current signers: Nanette Barragan, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Julia Brownley, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cardenas, Judy Chu, Anna Eshoo, John Garamendi, Sheila Jackson Lee, Denny Heck, Jared Huffman, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Rick Larsen, Barbara
Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Grace Napolitano, Jimmy Panetta, Scott Peters, Lucilly Roybal-Allard, Kurt Schrader, Brad Sherman, Eric Swalwell, and Juan Vargas
We can’t predict when earthquakes will occur, but for the tens of millions of people on the West Coast living near major faults, the fact that they will occur is a certainty. There is now a proven technology that can provide a warning before the damaging shaking
arrives – long enough to save lives and prevent billions in damages.
The Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) system for the West Coast, called ShakeAlert, was developed by the US Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with Caltech, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. It detects waves radiating
from the epicenter of an earthquake and can provide people with several seconds to a couple minutes of warning for users through their phones and computers, depending on their distance from the epicenter. With advanced notice, people can take cover, automated
systems can be triggered to slow down trains and manage the power grid, doctors can pause surgeries, and more.
With concern regarding the heightened risk of a major earthquake resulting from increased seismic activity near the San Andreas Fault, coupled with the prospect of an M9 earthquake along the Pacific Northwest Coast, there is public demand for EEW to be fully
Congress recognizes the value of this system and has demonstrated its commitment to providing additional resources for EEW by including funding in all appropriations bills since FY2015. To follow through on the commitments made by the Federal Government, as
well as growing funding from states and the private sector, it is critical that this program be properly funded so the West Coast will be prepared for a catastrophic earthquake.
Please join us in urging the Office of Management and Budget to include robust funding for the development of this system for the FY2020 budget so that the entire West Coast will be prepared for the next catastrophic earthquake. This is a proven technology
that will save lives and reduce the economic impact of an earthquake—it simply needs to be properly funded.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Courtney Fogwell in Representative Adam Schiff’s office (Courtney.Fogwell@mail.house.gov), Katie Allen in Representative Derek Kilmer’s office
(Katie.R.Allen@mail.house.gov), or Kris Pratt in Representative Peter DeFazio’s office (Kris.Pratt@mail.house.gov).
Deadline for signatures is Wednesday, December 5.
Adam B. Schiff
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
The Honorable Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President
725 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20503
Dear Director Mulvaney:
As you prepare the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), we strongly urge you to include robust funding for the development, operation and maintenance of the West Coast Earthquake Early Warning system (EEW) for the U.S. West Coast,
also known as ShakeAlert. With increased federal investment for ShakeAlert, the U.S. is making steady progress toward having an operational system that will help protect lives and enhance infrastructure resilience. Congress has been steadfast in its support
for the system, and we need the Administration to demonstrate its support for the system as well.
The USGS has been working with the California Institute of Technology; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Washington; the University of Oregon; the University of Nevada, Reno; Central Washington University, and state emergency services
agencies to deploy the system. This fall, ShakeAlert reached a significant milestone: it became available for public use via designated pilots. Businesses, organizations, schools, and public entities are now able to become ShakeAlert partners in order to distribute
alerts. More than half of the sensors have been installed along the West Coast, and nearly all sensors have been installed in major metropolitan areas, like Los Angeles and the San Francisco / Bay Area.
With concern regarding the heightened risk of a major earthquake resulting from increased seismic activity near the San Andreas Fault, coupled with the prospect of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake along the Pacific Northwest coast, there is public demand for EEW
to be fully operational. When major earthquake events occur—and we know it is “when” and not “if”—they have the potential to be the costliest and deadliest disasters the United States has ever faced.
Even with just a few seconds of warning, steps can be taken to prevent casualties and mitigate destruction, including slowing or stopping trains and cars; turning off supplies of oil, natural gas, and chemicals; securing large manufacturing equipment; stopping
elevators and opening doors; and securing sensitive computer data.
The effectiveness of EEW largely depends on modern cyber infrastructure, and the number and placement of ground motion sensors to ensure there is adequate coverage wherever an earthquake may hit—and this requires additional resources. Congress recognizes the
value of this system and continues to demonstrate its commitment by providing additional resources for ShakeAlert.
To follow through on the funding made by the federal government, as well as growing commitment from states and the private sector, it is critical that this program be properly funded so the West Coast will be prepared for the next catastrophic earthquake.
This technology will save lives and reduce the economic impact of an earthquake; it simply needs to be properly funded.
Thank you for considering our request.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0