Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Request to contact members about Earthquake Re-authorization in Congress

The following message was received from American Geological Institute (AGI), of which AEG is a member society. We realize that many members use the information and resources at the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program. If you are interested in assisting, please see below.

Dear Friends of NEHRP,

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is waiting for re-authorization in Congress. The last authorization ended in 2009 and now the program is in limbo. The House Science and Technology Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee have jurisdiction over NEHRP. Both are working on draft bills for re-authorization but no bill has been introduced in Congress yet. We are worried about possible reductions in authorization levels and possible complications/delays in re-authorization caused by including language that expands the bill to cover other hazards such as wildfires. We have provided input to the committees, however, it would be helpful if stakeholders/constituents provided inputs to their members, especially in states with seismic risk.

So we are asking you to consider sending letters to your members (representative and two senators). It would be most efficient to send the letters by email or by fax. Every member has a web site with email contact info. I would also suggest sending the email to a staffer in the office that you have spoken with in past visits to the Hill. If you need an email address or fax number, please contact Corina (ccd@agiweb.org).

Below is some draft text that you could use for emails or letters on letterhead. The main message is please re-authorize NEHRP at current authorization levels as soon as possible.

You may also send the text of the letter or if you are using letterhead then an attachment by email to the staff on the relevant committee who are in charge of preparing the NEHRP measure

For the Senate CST, please send emails (can send as one group email) to:

Subcommittee on Science and Space: Beth Bacon elizabeth_bacon@commerce.senate.gov

and Minority Staff, Senior Counsel Todd Bertoson, todd_bertoson@commerce.senate.gov

For House S&T please send emails (can send as one group email) to: Majority staff working for Rep. David Wu (D-OR) Mike Quear, mike.quear@mail.house.gov and Meghan Housewright meghan.housewright@mail.house.gov And Minority staff Dan Byers dan.byers@mail.house.gov

In the House, Representative David Wu (D-OR) is the member responsible for seeing the NEHRP bill through committee to the full House. In the Senate, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is the responsible member. If you have colleagues from Wu's district or California, then as constituents they can send emails to these two members' personal offices too.

The relevant staff in the office of Boxer is Cerin Lindgrensavage, cerin_lindgrensavage@boxer.senate.gov.

The relevant staff in Wu's office is Dennis Worden, dennis.worden@mail.house.gov.

Others are welcome to send emails to these staffers, but constituents are the most important of course.

Some of you are receiving this email because your member is on the relevant subcommittee for NEHRP consideration and you have done congressional visits in the past (e.g. Senator Tom Udall, NM, Sen. John Ensign, NV and Sen. Mike Johanns NE; Rep. Gabby Giffords, AZ, Rep, Ben Luan NM, Rep Harry Mitchell AZ and Rep. Adrian Smith NE). You could send emails to the staffers that you visited with in their personal offices.

You are welcome to invite your colleagues to send emails. Most helpful would be constituents of Rep. David Wu in OR-1st and/or Sen. Boxer in CA.

Thank you, Linda
Linda Rowan
Director of Government Affairs
American Geological Institute
4220 King St
Alexandria VA 22302
703-379-2480 x228
FAX 703-379-7563



The Honorable __________ United States House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable __________ United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Representative __________:
Dear Senator __________:

I am writing to ask for your support in the re-authorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) [Public Law 108-360]. The program has been running since 1977, but is now in limbo because its authorization ended in 2009.

NEHRP has successfully reduced the risk of earthquakes through the cohesive efforts of four federal agencies: the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Basic research conducted by NSF and the USGS, monitoring and assessments conducted by NSF and the USGS, engineering practices and standards conducted by NIST and education, preparedness and response conducted by FEMA have contributed to fewer fatalities, less property damage and less economic disruption from earthquakes in the United States.

NEHRP is a modest and well run program with strong coordination and collaboration among the four agencies mentioned above. Unfortunately it may become weakened by uncertainty or delay in authorization, reductions in already underfunded programs such as the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) and dilution of the coordination/leadership of the program by the addition of other natural hazards.

Please support the re-authorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) in its current form and at its current authorization levels with small increases for inflation in the coming years.

Thank you,


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