Strengthening NOAA’s tsunami detection, forecast, warning, system research through 2017

The House Committee on Rules will meet Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM in H-313 at The Capitol to review HM 34 Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015. HR 34 has not been amended since it was introduced on  Jan 6, 2015.  NOAA has the primary responsibility for providing tsunami warnings to the Nation, and a leadership role in tsunami observations and research.

*Related: S.2837: 2017 FUNDING FOR NASA, NSF, NOAA AND RELATED SCIENCE AGENCIES.

HR34 STATUS: Passed Senate with Changes on Oct 6, 2015

This bill has been passed in the House and the Senate, but the Senate made changes and sent it back to the House on October 6, 2015.

Sponsor:

Suzanne Bonamici

7 Cosponsors (3R, 3D, 1I)

DeFazio, Peter [D-OR4] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Johnson, Eddie [D-TX30] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Rohrabacher, Dana [R-CA48] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Sablan, Gregorio [I-MP0] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Schrader, Kurt [D-OR5] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Smith, Lamar [R-TX21] (joined Jan 6, 2015)
Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA3] (joined Jan 7, 2015)

SUMMARY

Reauthorizing the Tsunami Warning and Education Act through FY2017.

(Sec 4) Consolidates separate tsunami warning systems for the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and for the Atlantic Ocean into a single warning system. Requires the system to support international tsunami forecasting and warning efforts.

Requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support or maintain tsunami warning centers to support the national warning system and develop uniform operational procedures for the centers.

Requires warning centers to utilize a range of models to predict tsunami arrival times and flooding estimates, and maintain a fail-safe warning capability and an ability to perform back-up duties for each other. Directs the centers to monitor coastal sea level monitoring stations and other data sources and evaluate landslides and volcanic eruptions that have the potential to generate tsunami.

Requires the National Weather Service (NWS) to coordinate with the centers. Directs the NWS to ensure that resources are available to fulfill the obligations of this Act, including supercomputing resources.

Transfers the responsibility for the maintenance of equipment and technology used to forecast tsunami from the NWS to NOAA. Repeals requirements concerning: (1) annual certification of equipment, and (2) notification to Congress of impaired forecasting capabilities due to equipment or system failures and problems in completing work associated with the forecasting and warning system.

(Sec. 5) Modifies the tsunami hazard mitigation program to provide for: (1) technical and financial assistance; (2) the integration of tsunami preparedness and mitigation programs into resilience planning; (3) activities to support the development of regional hazard and risk assessments; and (4) dissemination of guidelines and standards for community planning, education, and training products, programs, and tools.

(Sec. 6) Expands the tsunami research program, including by: (1) requiring the program to develop the technical basis for validation of tsunami maps, models, and forecasts; and (2) authorizing NOAA to develop a pilot project for near-field tsunami forecast development for the west coast’s Cascadia region.

(Sec. 7) Removes a requirement that NOAA operate an International Tsunami Information Center to improve preparedness for Pacific Ocean nations.

(Sec. 8) Directs NOAA to: (1) designate an existing working group to serve as the Tsunami Science and Technology Advisory Panel to provide advice on matters regarding tsunami science, technology, and regional preparedness; (2) report on the implementation of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act; (3) develop and carry out formal outreach activities to improve tsunami education and awareness and foster the development of resilient communities; and (4) convene a coordinating committee to assist in the national tsunami hazard mitigation program.

ABOUT THE HOUSE RULES COMMITTEE

The Rules Committee has two broad categories of jurisdiction: special orders for the consideration of legislation (known as “special rules” or “rules”) and original jurisdiction matters. A special rule provides the terms and conditions of debate on a measure or matter, consideration of which constitutes the bulk of the work of the Rules Committee. The Committee also considers original jurisdiction measures, which commonly represent changes to the standing rules of the House, or measures that contain special rules, such as the expedited procedures in trade legislation.

The Committee has the authority to do virtually anything during the course of consideration of a measure, including deeming it passed. The Committee can also include a self- executed amendment which could rewrite just parts of a bill, or the entire measure. In essence, so long as a majority of the House is willing to vote for a special rule, there is little that the Rules Committee cannot do.

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3 thoughts on “Strengthening NOAA’s tsunami detection, forecast, warning, system research through 2017

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