The earthquake early warning system under construction on the West Coast got a significant boost in the budget signed into law, defying an earlier proposal by President Trump to end federal funding of the program.
As part of the $1.3-trillion budget bill approved by Congress this week and signed by Trump on Friday, officials approved $22.9 million for the project.
That funding more than doubles how much the U.S. Geological Survey’s early warning system got in the previous year’s budget, $10.2 million.
“The significant funding provided in the bill will help ensure that the West Coast has a functioning earthquake early warning system in the near future,” Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), chairman of a House subcommittee overseeing funding of the USGS, said in a statement.
“I will continue to be a champion for this life-saving technology that can have a significant impact when big earthquakes strike. Let’s take the steps we can to save Americans from preventable injuries during natural disasters,” Calvert said.
Lawmakers had faced a Friday deadline to approve a budget to fund the government for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and to avoid a government shutdown.
A spokesman for Calvert said the congressman visited USGS officials and agreed it was important to give the underfunded system a hefty boost.
“It was a big priority for him to get funding for the system to get it kickstarted,” said Calvert’s spokesman, Jason Gagnon. “Infrastructure, and getting the money in for the sensors, was key to advancing development of the system.”
Of the funding, $10 million is specifically set aside as a one-time investment for the physical buildout of the system. The remainder, $12.9 million, is for continued development of the early warning system.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), an early advocate of the early warning system, praised the vote and expressed gratitude to Calvert for his leadership in securing the funding.
“This system will not only help protect infrastructure and businesses, but also prevent injuries and save lives across California, Oregon and Washington,” Schiff said in a statement.
You can read the rest at the Los Angeles Times.