Rep. Bonamici Introduces Bipartisan Tsunami Warning Bill

Aug 1, 2014 Issues: Energy and Environment

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01) and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48) introduced a bill today to strengthen tsunami detection and warning systems, improve response and resiliency, and better protect communities vulnerable to a tsunami.

“The Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act will improve the country’s understanding of the threat posed by tsunami events. The legislation will improve the forecasting and notification systems, support local community outreach and preparedness and response plans, and develop supportive technologies,” Congresswoman Bonamici said. “Three years ago, the world witnessed the overwhelming power and destruction of a tsunami when Japan experienced a massive earthquake off its coast. The waves caused by the Tohoku earthquake near Japan reached as far as the West Coast of the United States and caused damage to the coast in my home state of Oregon and the coast of California. This bill helps to address the risk faced by communities on both coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico by improving our mitigation and research program and enhancing community outreach and planning.”

The legislation, which has the support of Science, Space, and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), strengthens the tsunami warning system so it is capable of forecasting tsunami arrival and damage estimates. The bill strengthens the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s hazard mitigation program through additional technical and financial assistance to communities and it establishes a working group to provide advice on tsunami science and technology. The bill also supports development of community-based outreach and education programs to ensure community readiness and resilience. Also sponsoring the bill are Oregon’s two other members with coastal areas in their districts, Representatives Peter DeFazio (OR-04) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05).

“I'm proud to cosponsor the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2014,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said. “We have seen time and again the devastating impacts that tsunami can have. We must learn more about tsunami events, provide better and more accurate tsunami forecasting, and reduce impacts on at-risk communities. This legislation will do that, and help us make certain that all of America's coastal communities are adequately prepared and properly warned for any tsunami event, all in a fiscally responsible manner.”