Murkowski to Introduce Bill Creating a National Volcano Monitoring System

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pointing to Mount Redoubt’s recent eruptions, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said today that she will be introducing legislation later this week to establish a national volcano monitoring system that includes the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) in Anchorage and Fairbanks.
“Recently there were some comments made about federal spending for volcano monitoring being wasteful,” Murkowski said in a Senate floor speech. “I can assure you that monitoring volcanoes is critically important to the nation and especially to my home state of Alaska.”
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its university and state partners operate five volcanic observatories, including the AVO. The other four are in Vancouver, WA; Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park; Yellowstone National Park and Mammoth Lakes and Menlo Park, CA.
Murkowski’s legislation would establish a National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System within the USGS to monitor, warn and protect citizens from undue and avoidable harm from volcanic activity. The legislation would authorize funding the system at $15 million annually.
Murkowski said the Alaska Volcano Observatory has been constantly underfunded  since it was formed in 1988, after an eruption of Mount Augustine.
AVO monitors more than 30 active volcanoes in Alaska, by far the busiest observatory in the world.
“It is because of the inadequate funding and critical importance of this program that I intend to introduce a bill that will provide the funding stability that volcano monitoring needs,” Murkowski said.