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Hazards & Security

  • Natural Hazards Mitigation and Infrastructure Security

    Summary

    • ASCE supports various programs within the federal government with the mission of mitigating the impact of natural and man-made hazards. Through research and proper preparation, and increased emphasis on the resilience of the nation’s infrastructure, the loss of life, as well as economic losses and the costs to the taxpayer could be significantly reduced.
    • ASCE is a member of the broad-based BuildStrong Coalition which supports federal incentives to encourage states to voluntarily adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes for residential and commercial structures. This effort has been promoted through the Safe Building Code Incentive Act. Uniform statewide adoption and enforcement of model building codes has been proven to be the most effective tool to mitigate natural catastrophes.
    • ASCE is also a member of the Stafford Act Coalition, which focuses on issues related to disaster mitigation. 


    Status

    • Reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) overdue since 2009. On September 6, 2017 Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) Reauthorization Act S.1768, a bill to reauthorize the national program to improve the nation’s earthquake preparedness. ASCE worked with both offices to crafting the legislation.
    • In 2015 Congress reauthorized the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP), however there was no provision for funding in the legislation.  
      Reauthorization of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) overdue since 2009. Neither the House Science Committee nor the Senate Commerce Committee has made progress on the issue despite the efforts of ASCE and our Coalition partners.
    • Congress has made no appropriations for NWIRP while funding for NEHRP has been flat for the last ten years. 
    • The Safe Building Code Incentive Act has been introduced in each of the last three Congresses and is expected to be reintroduced in the 115th Congress.  
    • The Stafford Act was last amended in 2006 and efforts to update the program in the last several years have been unsuccessful. ASCE as part of the Stafford Act Coalition, focuses mainly on ensuring adequate funding for the program. 
    • The current National Flood Insurance Program reauthorization expired on September 30, 2017, Congress extended the program until December, 2017. Legislation has been introduced in the Senate, the Flood Insurance Affordability & Sustainability Act of 2017, which would reauthorize the NFIP until 2027, which the sponsors say is needed to avoid uncertainty in both the insurance and housing markets


    ASCE Position

    • ASCE supports reauthorization and full funding of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program, and the enactment of the Safe Building Code Incentive Act.
    • ASCE supports full funding for the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program as created by the Stafford Act. The program provides vital support for a competitive grant program that allows state and local governments to mitigate the effects of a disaster before it occurs.
    • ASCE works closely with the BuildStrong Coalition to pass legislation to incentivize states to adopt state-wide building codes. 
    • ASCE supports the the adoption of flood-risk management policies that provide for: a consistent definition of flood risk and an accepted framework for how risk should be estimated; effective and sustainable management of risks posed by floods to life safety, human health, economic activity, cultural heritage and the environment; collaborative risk sharing and risk management at all levels of government and by all stakeholders; risk informed communication, policies and funding priorities; and the use of natural processes to mitigate the consequences of flooding.

    Further information

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