Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson
Posted on 2015-01-07
JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of
H.R. 34, the ``Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015''.
First, I want to thank the Ranking Member of the Environment Subcommittee, Ms. Bonamici, for her work on this legislation and her commitment to maintaining the health and vitality of the Nation's oceans and coastal communities. I would also like to thank Mr. Rohrabacher for joining her in this bipartisan effort, and Mr. Smith, the Chairman of the Science Committee, for starting the 114th Congress with a good bipartisan bill.
Over 120 million Americans call the United States coastline their home. These coastal communities--from major cities to small towns--play a vital role in sustaining the American economy. In fact, approximately one-third of the U.S. gross domestic product has its origins in coastal areas. That is why the bill we are considering today is so important. It would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to continue to protect Americans and our coastal economies from the threat of tsunamis.
This legislation is a perfect example of a familiar saying: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Our tsunami warning program has increased in effectiveness over the last decade, but we must remain vigilant in our preparedness and continue to invest in the research and development, and education and outreach, necessary to improve the resiliency of our coastal communities to these destructive waves. We were reminded in 2004 in Sumatra, and again in 2011 in Japan, of the devastation that can be caused by a tsunami. Billions and billions of dollars in economic damages and countless lives are at risk if we do not maintain, and improve, our tsunami detection and forecasting capabilities. Today's legislation advances NOAA's research efforts to do just that and may ultimately add minutes of critical response time to tsunami warnings. The bill also recognizes that the results of NOAA's research must be translated into outreach and education activities at the state and local level. The effective and timely communication of threats is critical in mitigating the impacts of a natural disaster. In addition, increased warning times are only effective if people know how to respond. I am pleased that this legislation emphasizes and supports local community preparedness.
Resiliency to natural disasters is an important part of strengthening the nation's economic security. I want to ensure that our coastal communities have the resources and tools they need to minimize the loss of life and property caused by a tsunami. Reauthorizing NOAA's tsunami activities is a key step in helping our communities continue to make progress.
I strongly urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Smith) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 34.
The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.