Summary: S.2789 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/19/1990)

National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act - Amends the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977 to replace provisions setting forth the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program.

Gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the primary responsibility for planning and coordinating the Program. Sets forth the administrative and program duties of the Director of FEMA in carrying out Program responsibilities.

Prohibits grants to States under the Program from requiring cost sharing at a level greater than specified percentages.

Requires the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct research necessary to characterize and identify earthquake hazards, assess earthquake risks, monitor seismic activity, and improve earthquake predictions. Sets forth duties of the Director of the USGS with regard to earthquakes, including: (1) issuing earthquake predictions or other earthquake advisories; (2) establishing, using existing facilities, a Center for the International Exchange of Earthquake Information; and (3) operating a National Seismic Network and supporting regional seismic networks.

Makes the National Science Foundation responsible for funding research on earth sciences to improve the understanding of the causes and behavior of earthquakes, on earthquake engineering, and on human response to earthquakes.

Makes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) responsible for carrying out research and development to improve building codes and standards and practices for structures and lifelines. Defines lifelines to mean public works and utilities, including those relating to transportation, power, communications, water, and sewage.

Replaces provisions directing the President to make an annual report to congressional committees with provisions requiring the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to report to specified congressional committees regarding the role of the Office in interagency coordination, planning, and operation of the Program.

Establishes the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Advisory Committee.

Directs the President to adopt standards for assessing and enhancing the seismic safety of existing buildings constructed for or leased by the Federal Government which were constructed without adequate seismic standards. Requires that the standards be developed by the Interagency Committee on Seismic Safety in Construction.

Requires the FEMA Director to submit to the Congress a plan for developing and adopting design and construction standards for lifelines.

Authorizes the FEMA Director to accept gifts in furtherance of this Act.

Prohibits a grant under the Act from FEMA that is made with funds appropriated under the Fiscal Year 1990 Dire Emergency Supplemental to Meet the Needs of Natural Disasters of National Significance from requiring cost sharing greater than 25 percent.

Establishes within the USGS an earthquake investigations program, as an activity of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, to investigate major earthquakes to learn lessons to reduce the loss of lives and property in future earthquakes, studying the implications of the earthquake in the areas of responsibility of each Program agency.

Increases and extends the authorization of appropriations to carry out the Act, including authorizations: (1) to specified agencies to enable them to carry out their responsibilities under the Act; and (2) of amounts authorized under the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1988.

Authorizes FEMA if the FEMA Director, with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative, determines that the public interest requires, to award to a domestic firm a contract made related to a grant under this Act that under the use of competitive procedures would have been awarded to a foreign firm. Imposes certain conditions and limitations.

Requires the FEMA Director to study the impact of a catastrophic earthquake on local, regional, and national economies, including the repercussions and indirect economic impact on financial markets, the national banking system, the insurance industry, and the national energy distribution network, including an estimate of the ability of current disaster assistance efforts and insurance coverage to allow recovery from the economic losses caused by a catastrophic earthquake.

Requires the FEMA Director to study the adequacy of preparation and response capabilities for reducing and recovering from losses caused by a catastrophic earthquake, including: (1) identifying impediments to hazard mitigation and analyzing the appropriate roles of governments and the private sector in preparing for and responding to economic and social consequences of earthquakes; and (2) considering the effectiveness and efficiencies of alternative ways for governments to reduce the economic impact of earthquakes.