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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington

DelBene Introduces Landslide Legislation

Mar 17, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today introduced a bill to boost national landslide programs and ensure the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and communities have the latest in mapping technology.

“In the wake of the tragic Oso landslide, we learned many lessons, including that lawmakers need to do more to ensure we fund resources and research efforts to prevent future natural disasters from becoming national tragedies,” DelBene said. “Every state in the country faces some amount of landslide risk, a risk that has not been well identified or addressed when compared to earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. Substantial work needs to be done to gain better knowledge of landslides and their potential impacts in order to reduce losses of life and property. It is time that landslide hazards are addressed properly and in a collaborative fashion. My bill will allow significant progress to be made in landslide science and will allow communities to be better prepared for when landslides do occur.”

Landslides result in an estimated 25-50 deaths and $3 billion of damage each year. These alarming numbers have not been updated in over 20 years and likely underestimate the devastating impact of landslides around the country.

DelBene’s bill, the National Landslide Loss Reduction Act (H.R. 4776), would establish the National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program through USGS as well as two competitive grant programs. These programs will establish a national program to identify hazards and reduce losses through better assessment, coordination and increased community education. In addition, the two grant programs will focus on supporting mapping, assessment and research, both locally, with higher education and through the private sector.

“This funding is critical for our understanding of landslides,” said Dave Norman, State Geologist and Manager of the Washington Geological Survey. “Identifying and mapping where landslides have occurred is one of the best ways to protect our communities.”

The bill is supported by the Association of American State Geologists, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Washington Geological Survey, the Association of Environmental & Engineering Geologists (AEG), Geological Society of America, the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), and the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG), among others.

Earlier this month, DelBene also called on House Appropriators to increase funding for landslide research.

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