Ranking Member Wilson Introduces Legislation to Advance Research to Mitigate the Impact of Natural Disasters

May 23, 2013

(Washington, DC) – Today, Ranking Member of the Technology Subcommittee, Frederica Wilson (D-FL), introduced H.R. 2132, the Natural Hazards Reduction Act of 2013.  H.R. 2132 reauthorizes the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP).

“As a Floridian and a survivor of Hurricane Andrew, I know firsthand that natural hazards are a leading threat to America’s economy and American lives,” said Ms. Wilson.  “In recent years, Americans have seen flooded subway stations in New York City, earthquake damage in the Nation's Capital, the great American city of New Orleans submerged under water, and now entire neighborhoods in Oklahoma flattened to the ground.  Tens of millions of Americans live in areas of the country prone to earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and other natural disasters. We as a nation must invest in preparedness. The Natural Hazards Reduction Act would reauthorize two important interagency programs that strengthen American communities’ ability to withstand disaster.  This measure will create jobs, save tax dollars, and ultimately save lives.”

NEHRP, was created in 1977 and has been responsible for the development of seismic codes and standards to enable buildings and other infrastructure to better withstand earthquakes. The reauthorization will allow the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Geological Survey, and FEMA to continue their efforts to develop and promote earthquake mitigation measures. Specifically, this reauthorization addresses key challenges in earthquake mitigation, including developing methods to retrofit existing structures, securing infrastructure, and working with households, businesses, and communities on the adoption of hazard mitigation measures.

NWIRP, was created in 2004 to study wind hazards and help develop building codes and practices to prevent damages caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, and other severe windstorms. The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program continues to support NSF, NIST, and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and FEMA in efforts to reduce damage from windstorms.

Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the original cosponsor of the bill, said, “By reauthorizing the earthquake and windstorm impact reduction programs, we can minimize the number of Americans who are harmed or killed by natural disasters or who have to face the challenge of putting their homes, businesses, and communities back together.  I hope the Committee will take up this piece of legislation soon.”