Committee on Science and Technology
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Legislative Highlights :: October 20, 2009

The Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2010

H.R. 3820

Bill Status and Summary

Reported (as amended) by the Full Committee on October 21, 2009
 
Introduced in the House on October 15, 2009
 
Section-by-Section
 
Sec. 1. SHORT TITLE
 
The Natural Hazards Risk Reduction Act of 2010
 
Sec. 2. FINDINGS
 
The US faces significant risks from many types of hazards, including earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and floods. The risk to life and property will continue to grow as more people move to hazard-prone areas. Outlines the damage caused by natural disasters and explains that if stringent building codes were enforced, much less damage would occur. More research in other risk mitigation efforts need to be taken, specifically on communications, enhancing prediction abilities, resilient structures, and lifelines.
 
Title I.  EARTHQUAKES
 
Sec. 101. Short Title
 
National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2009
 
Sec. 102. Findings
 
Repeals section 2 of the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 (42 U.S.C. 7701), which were the original ‘Findings’.
 
Sec. 103.  Definitions
 
Removes the definitions of the “Interagency Coordination Committee” and the “Advisory Committee” from Section 4 of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977.
 
Sec. 104.  National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program
 
Defines the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program’s (NEHRP) activities; identifies the four agencies that make up NEHRP: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Science Foundation (NSF); defines NIST as the lead agency; and assigns responsibilities to the different agencies. 
 
Program activities include: research and development to reduce the risks of earthquakes to the built environment; research to improve the understanding of earthquakes and their impact on the built environment and society; and facilitation of the adoption of earthquake risk reduction measures through grants, technical assistance, development of building standards and guidelines, outreach to practitioners and community members, and other means.
In addition to lead agency responsibilities, NIST shall also support research and development to improve codes, standards, and practices for new and existing buildings and lifelines. Such activities also include the development of tools and technical resources to help practitioners use new knowledge to mitigate earthquakes.
 
FEMA activities include: facilitating the development and adoption of codes, standards and practices for new and existing structures and lifelines; the development of tools and methods to predict earthquake damage; and support a public earthquake education and public awareness program. FEMA also has the responsibility of a state assistance grant program to assist states in implementing various mitigation activities.
 
USGS activities shall include research and other means to characterize earthquake hazards, assess earthquake risks, monitor seismic activity, and provide real-time earthquake information. These activities include the continued development of the Advanced National Seismic System and the Global Seismographic Network,
 
NSF activities shall include the support of basic research to further the understanding of earthquake, earthquake engineering and community preparation and response to earthquakes. Such activities will also include support if the George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Engineering and Earthquake Simulation. 
 
Sec. 105. POST-EARTHQUAKE INVESTIGATIONS PROGRAM 
 
NEHRP shall be responsible for a post-earthquake investigations program. The lead agency shall be responsible for coordinating such investigations after earthquakes, in order to gather information and data to learn lessons that may be applied to reduce future earthquake losses.
 
Sec. 106  AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
 
Total authorization for FEMA from FY2010 to FY2014: $54,354,000
 
Total authorization for USGS, including the Advanced National Seismic Research and Monitoring System from FY2010 to FY2014: $371,640,000
 
Total authorization for NSF from FY2010 to FY2014: $286,275,000
 
Total authorization for NIST from FY2010 to FY2014: $39,214,000
 
Title II. WIND
 
Sec. 201. SHORT TITLE
 
The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2009
 
Sec. 202. PURPOSE
The purpose of the program is to support research, development, and technology transfer activities that will lead to a reduction in the loss of life and property from windstorms.
 
Sec. 203.  DEFINITIONS
 
Amends the Act to define “Director” a the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology
 
Sec. 204.  NATIONAL WINDSTORM IMPACT REDUCTION PROGRAM
 
Defines the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program’s (NWIRP) activities; identifies the four agencies that make up NWIRP: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF); defines NIST as the lead agency; and assigns responsibilities to the different agencies. 
 
Program activities include: research and development on methods and technologies to reduce the risk of windstorms to the built environment; research to improve the understanding of windstorms and their impacts on the built environment and communities; and the facilitation of the adoption of windstorm risk reduction measures, through development of codes and standards, outreach, and other means.
 
In addition to lead agency responsibilities, NIST activities shall also include research and development to: improve codes, standards, and design guidance for the construction and retrofit of new and existing structures; support the development of wind measurement tools; and the development of methods to collect data after severe wind events.
 
FEMA activities include: the development of: windstorm impact assessment tools; windstorm impact mitigation techniques; data collection and analysis after windstorm events; and outreach to facilitate mitigation measures in communities and among building practitioners.
 
NOAA activities include the support of: atmospheric science research and data collection to better understand windstorms and their impacts. 
 
NSF activities include: research to improve the understanding of windstorms, their impact on the built environment, and on households, businesses, and communities.
 
Sec. 205. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS
 
Total authorization for FEMA from FY2010 to FY2014: $51,403,100
 
Total authorization for NSF from FY2010 to FY2014: $51,403,100
 
Total authorization for NIST from FY2010 to FY2014: $21,873,600
 
Total authorization for NOAA from FY2010 to FY2014: $12,030,500
 
 
Title III. INTERAGENCY COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON NATURAL HAZARDS RISK REDUCTION
 
Sec. 301. INTERAGENCY COORDINATING COMMITTEE ON NATURAL HAZARDS RISK REDUCTION
 
Establishes an Interagency Committee (ICC) on Natural Hazards Risk Reduction, chaired by the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and comprised also of the Directors of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the head of any other Federal agency the Committee considers appropriate. Gives the ICC the responsibility of developing strategic plans, progress reports, and coordinated budgets for both the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP).
 
Establishes an Advisory Committees for NEHRP and NWIRP of relevant non-Federal employee experts to offer guidance and recommendations on program activities.
 
Requires the Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction, of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council, to submit a report to Congress identifying the current Federal research, development, and technology transfer activities that address mitigation for all types of natural hazards, and opportunities to create synergies among the various research activities.
      
Title IV. NATIONAL CONSTRUCTUION SAFETY TEAM ACT AMENDMENTS
 
Sec. 401. National Construction Safety Team Act Amendments
 
Amends the National Construction Safety Team Act (P.L. 107-231) to: include infrastructure, as well as buildings and to give the Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 72 hours to decide to deploy a Construction Safety Team.
   
Title V. FIRE RESEACH PROGRAM
 
Sec. 501. FIRE RESEARCH PROGRAM
 
To add to the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s existing fire research authority, research on “fires at the wildland-urban interface.”
 

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