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Rep. DelBene request additional funding for landslide warning and monitoring programs

United States Rep. Suzan DelBene  - Reporter file photo
United States Rep. Suzan DelBene
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The following is a release from Congresswoman Suzan DelBene's office:

Rep. Suzan DelBene, who represents Bothell and Kenmore in Congress, along with Rep. Rick Larsen and Rep. Jim McDermott sent a letter to the leaders of the House Appropriations Committee calling for additional funding for national landslide programs and funding for the latest in landslide mapping technology. The letter comes as the House Committee is expected to mark-up the appropriations bill that funds the U.S. Geological Survey next week.

Specifically, the letter calls for a significant increase to the Landslide Hazards Program, which provides crucial information from the best available science to help protect property and people in landslide-prone areas. One example of what the program does is fund and maintain systems that monitor areas at risk for a landslide and could act as a possible warning system.

“Unfortunately, this program receives far less funding than other hazards programs, such as volcanoes and earthquakes,” write the lawmakers. Despite the tremendous need for better information, monitoring and resources to address the nation’s landslide risk, the Landslide Hazards Program receives only $3.5 million with a staff of approximately 20. It is in fact the smallest and least funded of all the Natural Hazards Programs.

The letter also asks for additional funding for Light Distance and Ranging (LiDAR) technology to better map and analyze areas vulnerable to landslides. The advanced laser mapping technology has proven to be extremely valuable in evaluating areas and even revealing previously unknown landslide areas.

“While USGS is authorized to spend up to $300 million annually to purchase LiDAR, often only about 10% of this funding authority is realized,” write the lawmakers. “To date just 22 percent of our home state of Washington has been mapped using this technology.”

The letter asks the Appropriations Committee to allocate funds closer to the $300 million authorized for the technology.

The full letter can be read HERE.

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