KTVA: Murkowski, Feinstein bill to modernize earthquake safety will be signed into law

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that will update national earthquake preparedness programs.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski joined Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, to introduce the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act, which was unanimously passed by the Senate in September, according to a Tuesday news release.

“I’m pleased that this important bill will soon be signed into law,” Murkowski said in the release. “Alaskans face daily threats from earthquakes and cascading hazards like tsunamis and landslides. Our bipartisan legislation builds upon the good work already underway through the Advanced National Seismic System to ensure communities in Alaska and across the country have the tools they need to be better prepared, safer, and more resilient.”

Co-sponsors of the bill include Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan and Oregon's Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat.

“Being as prepared as we can be for natural disasters is the name of the game," Wyden said. "When the West Coast is struck by a large earthquake it is absolutely crucial that communities be prepared. This legislation will help make sure communities in Oregon have the resources to be ready to protect families, businesses and infrastructure for when the big one hits. 

Other co-sponsors are Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.; Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Kamala Harris, D-Calif.; Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; and Patty Murray, D-Wash.

The bill reauthorizes the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. Initially passed in 1977, the program has led to significant improvements in earthquake early warning, monitoring and research, according to Tuesday's release. The update will authorize infrastructure improvements as well as hazard and risk assessments for earthquake-prone communities. The bill will also remove outdated language related to earthquake prediction, reduce administrative burdens for federal agencies and improves data sharing between agencies.

Typically, Alaska experiences more than 100 earthquakes a day, however many of them go unnoticed because of the size of our state and the strength of the quake, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.

The bill will head to President Trump's desk for final approval.

Source: KTVA