DearColleague.us

Letter

Sending Office: Honorable Adam B. Schiff
Sent By:
Joe.Jankiewicz@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Continue investing in a West Coast Earthquake Early Warning System

**This is a programmatic request**

To sign on, please fill out the form
here

Current Signers: Schiff, DelBene, DeFazio, Bera, Bonamici, Cárdenas, Chu, Cisneros, Costa, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Gabbard, Heck, Huffman, Jayapal, Khanna, Larsen, Lowenthal, Matsui, Napolitano, Panetta, Payne, Jr., Rouda,
Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Sherman, Smith, Speier, Swalwell, Thompson, Vargas, Waters

FY20 Signers: Schiff, DelBene, DeFazio, Bera, Bonamici, Chu, Costa, DeSaulnier, Eshoo, Gabbard, Heck, Huffman, Jayapal, Khanna, Larsen, Lowenthal, Matsui, Napolitano, Panneta, Payne, Jr., Roybal-Allard, Ruiz, Speier, Swalwell, Thompson,
Vargas, Waters, Blumenauer, Brownley, Carbajal, Cárdenas, Cisneros, Correa, Garamendi, Gomez, Horsford, Lee, Lieu, Lofgren, McNerney, Peters, Rouda, Sánchez, Sherman, Smith, Takano

Dear Colleague:

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 destructive
shaking arrives – long enough to save lives and prevent billions in damages.

Earthquake Early Warning, also called ShakeAlert, is proven technology that is already fully operational in countries including Japan and Mexico. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley,
the University of Washington, Central Washington University, and the University of Oregon, is currently working to adapt the technology and has developed an on-shore prototype system for test users along the west coast. The system detects waves radiating from
the epicenter of a quake and would provide people in California, Oregon and Washington with seconds to even a minute or more of warning. 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.

The 2019 magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 earthquakes in Ridgecrest, California are just a few reminders of how important it is that the United States has a robust Earthquake Early Warning system.  In 2015,
national media reported on the prospects of a magnitude 9 earthquake in the Pacific Northwest and the utility of a warning system. When such an event occurs, it will be one of
the most serious disasters the United States has faced. Once fully operational, EEW will provide critical time—from a few seconds to minutes—to take protective action. In fact, the Puget Sound and Portland could receive up to three minutes of warning—warning
that will save lives.

Now we need to fully implement the system and ensure that it can be utilized by all of those on the west coast.
Please join us in sending a letter to the Chairwoman and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies in support of $25.7 million for the USGS to build out the Earthquake Early Warning System.

FEMA has estimated that earthquakes cost the United States, averaged over the long term, more than $5 billion per year. This common-sense investment will save lives, protect businesses, and could make a real difference in more rapid recovery for local communities,
the federal government, and the economy as a whole.

Congressional support for the system has been consistent, bipartisan, and growing in the past few years. In FY2018, Congress appropriated $12.9 million specifically for ShakeAlert, $16.1 million in FY19, and $25.7 million for FY20. Furthermore, in October
2018, USGS released a revised technical implementation plan for the ShakeAlert system, which included an updated operations and maintenance budget of $28.6 million a year. Providing no less than the FY 2020 funding of $25.7 million for ShakeAlert will help
USGS scale up toward this revised funding level

We are making significant progress, securing funding for this life-saving technology. Let’s build this robust system now, so that when the inevitable massive quake occurs—and we know it will—we can mitigate the injuries, destruction, and chaos as much as
possible.

Because this is a programmatic request, signing Members are required to submit documentation online with the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.
To sign on, please fill out the form
here
. If you have questions, please contact
Joe Jankiewicz
in Rep. Schiff’s office,
Victoria Honard
in Rep. DelBene’s office, or
CC Wright
in Rep. DeFazio’s office. Deadline for signatures is COB Tuesday, March 17th.
 

 

Sincerely,

Adam B. Schiff

Member of Congress

 

Suzan K. DelBene

Member of Congress

 

Peter DeFazio

Member of Congress


Dear Chairwoman McCollum and Ranking Member Joyce:

As you craft the Fiscal Year 2021 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you provide the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) with $25.7 million for the construction, operation and maintenance of a West Coast Earthquake Early
Warning System, also called ShakeAlert.

The USGS, in collaboration with Caltech, UC Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon, developed ShakeAlert, which detects waves radiating from the epicenter of an earthquake. The ShakeAlert signal can be used to provide people
with several to tens of seconds of warning in California, and up to a few minutes in Washington and Oregon through their phones, computers and other media. This is a “smart infrastructure” investment to provide advanced notice so people can take cover, automated
systems can be triggered to slow down trains and manage the power grid, doctors can pause surgeries, and more. The technology has been tested and proven to work effectively. Last fall, ShakeAlert reached a significant milestone by enabling public alerts across
the state of California for the first time, both using the Wireless Emergency Alerts system and a smartphone app. Oregon and Washington are advancing towards statewide alerting as well and are looking to initiate public alerting this fall.

FEMA has estimated that earthquakes cost the United States, averaged over the long term, more than $5 billion a year. This common-sense investment in Earthquake Early Warning will save lives, protect businesses, and could make a real difference in more rapid
recovery for local communities, the federal government and the economy as a whole.

We appreciate the increased support the Committee has provided in recent fiscal years. In October 2018, USGS released the revised technical implementation plan for the ShakeAlert system, which included an updated operations and maintenance budget of $28.6
million a year. In FY 2021, providing no less than the FY 2020 funding of $25.7 million for ShakeAlert will help USGS scale up toward this revised funding level.

While we cannot predict when and where the next major earthquake will hit, we must do all we can to prepare ourselves so that we can mitigate the injuries, destruction, and chaos as much as possible. We appreciate your consideration of our request, and we
look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Appropriations, Environment

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