National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015by Representative Suzanne Bonamici
Posted on 2015-01-07
BONAMICI. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in support of H.R. 23, legislation to reauthorize the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program.
First I want to thank Representatives Neugebauer and Wilson for their hard work on this important legislation that will benefit our constituents.
Americans face significant exposure to windstorms. According to the National Weather Service, between the years of 2003 and 2013, thousands of Americans lost their lives from the impacts of windstorms. Along with the loss of life, windstorms during that time caused billions of dollars of damage to property, including a severely negative impact on agricultural crops.
Although we cannot stop a windstorm from happening, there is much we can do to save both lives and property when windstorms and other natural disasters do happen. In addition to [[Page H86]] responding quickly and with sufficient resources in the aftermath of a natural disaster, we must also invest in preparedness and resilience.
Studies of FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation program have shown that for every dollar invested in mitigation activities, $3 to $4 in recovery costs can be saved.
The National Windstorm Reduction Program Act is primarily a mitigation program. It has the potential to lessen the loss of life and economic damage by supporting research and development on windstorms and their impacts and helping to ensure that this research is translated into improving building codes and emergency planning, but this program needs robust investment to achieve that result.
The bill today includes a lower total authorization level than was authorized for this program in fiscal year 2008. We can and we should do better than that. One of our responsibilities as a government should be to assist our constituents with disaster mitigation and response and preparedness, and that means investing in programs we already have in place to carry out these responsibilities. Nevertheless, I understand the need to reauthorize this important program, and I thank my colleagues for agreeing to maintain the authorization levels negotiated last Congress.
I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this important bill, and I reserve the balance of my time.