Kilmer Applauds USGS Approval of $4.9 Million for Transition to Production of ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System

Washington, D.C. -   Today, Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) applauded the United States Geological Survey announcement of a $4.9 million investment in the ShakeAlert, an earthquake early warning system along the West Coast. This announcement follows a letter led by Rep. Derek Kilmer to the White House Office of Management and Budget signed by more than 30 members of Congress in November 2016.

The ShakeAlert system was developed by scientists at Caltech, UC-Berkeley, the University of Washington, and the University of Oregon. Scientists believe that such an early warning system would be helpful in providing residents and first responders with advance notice that could help save lives, avoid injuries, and avert major infrastructure damage.

"In the event of an earthquake off the coast of Washington, folks will have only minutes or less to get to higher ground.  I've fought for this Earthquake Early Warning System because it will be a literal lifesaver for people in our region," said Rep. Derek Kilmer. "Imagine what a few seconds of warning can mean for a teacher in a classroom, a doctor doing surgery, a commuter crossing a bridge, or an office worker getting into an elevator. That's why I'll continue to press the Administration to make sure this system is fully funded and operational."

In the letter, the Members write: "To follow through on the commitments made by the Federal Government, as well as growing funding from states and the private sector, it is critical that this program be fully funded at $16.1 million annually so the West Coast will be prepared for a catastrophic earthquake. This is proven technology that will save lives and reduce the economic impact of an earthquake; it simply needs to be properly funded."

The system is expected to cost an estimated $38.2 million for the West Coast, with annual operating and maintenance costs of $16.1 million. 

Kilmer has also sought to improve coastal resiliency for communities on the coast. In 2015 he introduced legislation to assist Native American tribes living in coastal areas and facing threats from severe weather and took part in a Tribal Tsunami and Climate Resilience Summit. He also introduced a bipartisan bill to expand key disaster assistance to rural communities in Washington state and across the country.