Launching An Earthquake Early Warning System
President Trump’s budget would eliminate federal funding for an earthquake early warning system being developed for California and the rest of the West Coast which, if enacted, probably would kill the long-planned effort.
The budget proposal for the year ending in September 2018 also seeks to eliminate U.S. funding for critical tsunami-monitoring stations in oceans and reduce funds for a next-generation weather forecasting system.
Scientists said the loss of federal funding would derail the early warning system, which officials hope would one day send public earthquake alerts to smartphones seconds or even minutes before a temblor.
Op-Ed by Jerry Hill, Bob Hertzberg and Adam Gray, Special to the Mercury News
To live in California is to live in earthquake country. It is also to live in one of the most modern economies in the world — a place where advancing science and innovation are breeding technological wonders of all kind, from self-driving automobiles to the next generation of spacecraft.
So it makes no sense that California is behind the curve in developing an early warning system for earthquakes that is already used in other countries, such as Japan. That is why we have introduced legislation to speed the process along by providing $23 million in start-up funds and by removing the existing prohibition against using state general fund dollars for the project.
Governor’s May Revision Budget Includes $10 Million for the System
Sacramento – State Senator Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties), Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) and Senator Robert Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) applaud Governor Jerry Brown for his commitment today to start funding a statewide earthquake early warning system that would help save lives and protect the public before temblors strike. Governor Brown announced his May Revision to the State Budget this morning, and he includes $10 million to fund the system as part of the revision.
Earlier this year, Senator Hill, Assemblymember Gray and Senator Hertzberg introduced legislation with a bipartisan group of coauthors to provide $23.1 million in funding for the system. The bills are SB 438 (Hill and Hertzberg) and AB 1346 (Gray). The three legislators also wrote a bipartisan budget request letter, signed by 25 other legislators, to seek funding.
Surveying the devastation of centuries-old villages pummeled by a major earthquake in central Italy this week, it’s easy for Californians to think that the more modern buildings here would better survive the shaking.
But seismic experts and structural engineers say there remain many buildings across California that could not withstand the type of magnitude 6.2 temblor that on Wednesday hit Amatrice and other rural villages in the Apennine Mountains that form Italy’s spine.
The structural flaw in those ancient stone homes is not so different from unreinforced brick buildings built in California before 1933, they say. That year, the Long Beach earthquake flattened many structures and left 120 people dead.