National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015by Representative Frederica S. Wilson
Posted on 2015-01-07
WILSON of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 23.
This legislation would reauthorize the National Windstorm Impact
Reduction Program, or NWIRP.
The Federal Government has an important role in helping Americans prepare for and recover from natural hazards. H.R. 23 directs four Federal agencies--NIST, NSF, NOAA, and FEMA--to conduct coordinated research and development on the nature of windstorms, their effects, and on ways to mitigate their impact. The legislation also ensures that this research is translated into practice through improved building codes and emergency planning.
I was born and raised in south Florida, and I am a survivor of Hurricane Andrew, so I have seen my share of severe weather. I know firsthand that natural hazards are a leading threat to American lives and America's economy.
While we cannot stop a hurricane or tornado from happening, this Congress can act to make sure our communities have the tools they need to respond and recover from these disasters.
We must begin by investing in preparedness and resilience. Studies of FEMA's pre-disaster mitigation program have shown that for every dollar we invest in mitigation activities we save $3 to $4 in recovery costs.
I was pleased that this bill was considered in the Science Committee last Congress, and we worked in a bipartisan manner to make several improvements to the bill. I want to thank my colleagues, Chairman Smith and Mr. Neugebauer, for working across the aisle in a smooth and productive process.
We worked together to increase the authorization for FEMA, the NWIRP agency tasked with taking the research conducted at other agencies and developing mitigation techniques and public outreach. Mr. Neugebauer was the lead, and I appreciate his inclusion.
Additionally, we added several social science-related provisions to the bill. We cannot design effective disaster strategies without knowing how people make decisions and respond to disaster warnings.
Often in a compromise, like this one, you do not get everything you would like. I would have liked to see increases in the authorization levels across the board. Unfortunately, this bill includes a lower total authorization level than what was authorized for this program in fiscal year 2008.
When the last few years have been devastating years for windstorms, including Superstorm Sandy and the tornado outbreak last May, it is difficult [[Page H87]] to understand why we would cut the total authorization level for this important program.
I do hope that if this bill moves forward, we will continue our bipartisan efforts and work with the Senate to perfect this bill. Nevertheless, I understand the need to reauthorize this important program that can help minimize the number of Americans who are harmed or killed by windstorm disasters and reduce the costs associated * * * I support H.R. 23 and urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the bill.