Today, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) were joined by 45 Members of Congress – primarily from California, Washington, and Oregon – in sending a letter to the Appropriations Committee urging them to increase the federal funding level to $18.6 million in the Fiscal Year 2020 to fully build out and maintain an earthquake early warning system on the West Coast.
A limited earthquake early warning system developed by Caltech, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, and the University of Oregon in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), has already been deployed in a beta testing phase and has proven that the early warning technology is sound.
“It is imperative for Congress to continue funding construction and maintenance of the earthquake early warning system along the West Coast, which sits atop major fault lines,” said Rep. Schiff. “The system will not only help protect infrastructure and businesses, but also prevent injuries and save lives across California, Oregon and Washington. The earthquake early warning technology has been proven sound during testing in the United States, as well is in countries like Mexico and Japan, and it would be irresponsible not to provide this life-saving technology to the public before the next ‘big one’ hits.”
“The west coast has always been vulnerable to major earthquakes, with Washington state having the second highest earthquake risk nationwide,” said Rep. DelBene. “It’s critical that we expand natural disaster preparation tools using 21st century technology like ShakeAlert, which will enable Washingtonians to take swifter, preventative measures that could help save lives, protect businesses and help local communities recover faster.”
“The question is not if, but when the next major earthquake will hit the Paciﬁc Northwest,” said Rep. DeFazio. “Preparation will save lives, reduce injuries, and minimize infrastructure damage. Not only does Japan have the most advanced EEW system in the world, but it has also invested heavily in earthquake preparedness and earthquake-resilient infrastructure, including a response and recovery headquarters in case of a major quake. We need to offer Oregonians the same basic protections.”