H.R. 34, Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015

H.R. 34

Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici

Date
January 7, 2015 (114th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Wednesday, January 7, 2015, the House will consider H.R. 34, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 34 was introduced on January 6, 2015, by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Bill Summary

H.R. 34 is substantively identical to H.R. 5309, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015, legislation that passed in the House on September 8, 2014 by voice vote.[1]

H.R. 34 amends Section 3 of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.), to expand the purposes of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act to: 1) enhance and modernize the existing U.S. Tsunami Warning System to increase accuracy of forecasts and warnings, improve coverage of tsunami detection assets, and reduce false alarms; 2) improve and develop standards and guidelines for mapping, modeling, and assessment efforts to improve tsunami detection, forecasting, notification, mitigation, response, outreach, and recovery; 3) improve research efforts related to improving tsunami detection; and 4) foster resilient communities in the face of tsunami and other coastal hazards.  Moreover, this legislation modifies the Tsunami Forecasting and Warning Program by requiring the Program develop a tsunami warning system that: 1) is capable of forecasting tsunami, including arrival time and inundation estimates anywhere in the Pacific and Arctic Ocean regions; 2) is capable of forecasting and providing adequate warnings in areas of the Atlantic Ocean (including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico); and 3) supports other international tsunami forecasting and warning efforts.

H.R. 34 also requires the Administrator of the program to support or maintain centers to support the tsunami warning system.  These centers would be required to: continuously monitor data from monitoring stations and other stations; evaluate earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions that can generate tsunami; evaluate deep ocean buoy data and tidal monitoring stations; utilize models to predict tsunami arrival times; disseminate forecasts to Federal, State, and local government officials and the public; coordinate with the tsunami hazard mitigation program; and make data gathered under this Act available to researchers.  The program is also directed under this legislation to coordinate with the National Weather Service, maintain a fail-safe warning capability, and develop uniform operational procedures for centers supported or maintained under the Act.

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[1] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CREC-2014-09-08/pdf/CREC-2014-09-08-pt1-PgH7263.pdf#page=1, H7267.

Background

“In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, Congress passed the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (P.L. 109-424), to enhance and modernize the existing Pacific Tsunami Warning System to increase coverage, reduce false alarms, and increase the accuracy of forecasts and warnings, among other purposes.”[2]  This legislation led to the creation of additional Deep-Ocean Assessment and Report of Tsunamis (DART) detection buoys.[3]  This legislation attempts to improve upon current legislation in order to improve coordination of activities, data collection, and detection systems.

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[2] Peter Folger, U.S. Tsunami Programs: A Brief Overview, Congressional Research Service (Mar. 18, 2011).
[3] See Id.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is currently unavailable.  This legislation authorizes $27 million for each of fiscal years 2015-2017, which is consistent with current levels, and below the last authorized amount.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.