(1)All 50 States are vulnerable to the hazards of earthquakes, and at least 39 of them are subject to major or moderate seismic risk, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington. A large portion of the population of the United States lives in areas vulnerable to earthquake hazards.
(2)Earthquakes have caused, and can cause in the future, enormous loss of life, injury, destruction of property, and economic and social disruption. With respect to future earthquakes, such loss, destruction, and disruption can be substantially reduced through the development and implementation of earthquake hazards reduction measures, including
(A) improved design and construction methods and practices,
(B) land-use controls and redevelopment,
(C) prediction techniques and early-warning systems,
(D) coordinated emergency preparedness plans, and
(E) public education and involvement programs.
(3)An expertly staffed and adequately financed earthquake hazards reduction program, based on Federal, State, local, and private research, planning, decisionmaking, and contributions would reduce the risk of such loss, destruction, and disruption in seismic areas by an amount far greater than the cost of such program.
(4)A well-funded seismological research program in earthquake prediction could provide data adequate for the design, of an operational system that could predict accurately the time, place, magnitude, and physical effects of earthquakes in selected areas of the United States.
(5)The geological study of active faults and features can reveal how recently and how frequently major earthquakes have occurred on those faults and how much risk they pose. Such long-term seismic risk assessments are needed in virtually every aspect of earthquake hazards management, whether emergency planning, public regulation, detailed building design, insurance rating, or investment decision.
(6)The vulnerability of buildings, lifelines, public works, and industrial and emergency facilities can be reduced through proper earthquake resistant design and construction practices. The economy and efficacy of such procedures can be substantially increased through research and development.
(7)Programs and practices of departments and agencies of the United States are important to the communities they serve; some functions, such as emergency communications and national defense, and lifelines, such as dams, bridges, and public works, must remain in service during and after an earthquake. Federally owned, operated, and influenced structures and lifelines should serve as models for how to reduce and minimize hazards to the community.
(8)The implementation of earthquake hazards reduction measures would, as an added benefit, also reduce the risk of loss, destruction, and disruption from other natural hazards and manmade hazards, including hurricanes, tornadoes, accidents, explosions, landslides, building and structural cave-ins, and fires.
(9)Reduction of loss, destruction, and disruption from earthquakes will depend on the actions of individuals, and organizations in the private sector and governmental units at Federal, State, and local levels. The current capability to transfer knowledge and information to these sectors is insufficient. Improved mechanisms are needed to translate existing information and research findings into reasonable and usable specifications, criteria, and practices so that individuals, organizations, and governmental units may make informed decisions and take appropriate actions.
(10)Severe earthquakes are a worldwide problem. Since damaging earthquakes occur infrequently in any one nation, international cooperation is desirable for mutual learning from limited experiences.
(11)An effective Federal program in earthquake hazards reduction will require input from and review by persons outside the Federal Government expert in the sciences of earthquake hazards reduction and in the practical application of earthquake hazards reduction measures.
1990—Pars. (5) to (11). Pub. L. 101–614added pars. (5) to (7), struck out former pars. (5) and (6), and redesignated former pars. (7) to (10) as (8) to (11), respectively. Prior to amendment, pars. (5) and (6) read as follows:
“(5) An operational earthquake prediction system can produce significant social, economic, legal, and political consequences.
“(6) There is a scientific basis for hypothesizing that major earthquakes may be moderated, in at least some seismic areas, by application of the findings of earthquake control and seismological research.”
Short Title of 2004 Amendment
Pub. L. 108–360, title I, § 101,Oct. 25, 2004, 118 Stat. 1668, provided that: “This title [amending sections
7708 of this title] may be cited as the ‘National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2004’.”
Short Title of 2000 Amendment
Pub. L. 106–503, title II, § 201,Nov. 13, 2000, 114 Stat. 2304, provided that: “This title [enacting sections
7709 of this title, amending sections
7706 of this title, repealing section
7705d of this title, enacting provisions set out as a note under this section, and amending provisions set out as a note under section
7704 of this title] may be cited as the ‘Earthquake Hazards Reduction Authorization Act of 2000’.”
Short Title of 1990 Amendment
Pub. L. 101–614, § 1,Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3231, provided that: “This Act [enacting sections
7705e, amending this section and sections
7706 of this title, and enacting provisions set out as notes under sections
7705e of this title] may be cited as the ‘National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act’.”
Pub. L. 95–124, § 1,Oct. 7, 1977, 91 Stat. 1098, provided: “That this Act [enacting this chapter] may be cited as the ‘Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977’.”
Delegation of Functions
Functions of President under Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 delegated, transferred, or reassigned to Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to sections 1–104 and 4–204 of Ex. Ord. No. 12148, July 20, 1979, 44 F.R. 43239, as amended, set out as a note under section
5195 of this title.
Report on At-Risk Populations
Pub. L. 106–503, title II, § 207,Nov. 13, 2000, 114 Stat. 2307, required the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to transmit to Congress a report no later than 1 year after Nov. 13, 2000, describing the elements of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program that specifically addressed the needs of at-risk populations.
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