After months of consideration and debate, the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program has been reauthorized with a budget of around $152 million, or $760 million for the next five years.
The reauthorization, which has been signed into law by President Trump, will put a renewed emphasis on the federal government working more closely with communities, primarily in the West, to develop both new planning and building codes for earthquake resistance.
The reauthorization is also requiring both the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to form a committee with the goal of providing recommendations for improving both the built environment and critical infrastructure.
Originally signed into law by President Jimmy Carter in 1977, the NEHRP from its inception was designed to reduce the loss of life and property by conducting more research on how structures respond to earthquakes, and inputting that information into updated and improved building codes.
Although the NEHRP building codes focus has primarily affected such states as Alaska, California, and Hawaii, where the vast majority of earthquakes in the U.S. in the last decades have taken place, the website Statista.com notes that between 1974 and 2003, New Mexico experienced 38 earthquakes, followed by Arizona with 32, and Colorado at 24.
By Garry Boulard
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