Text: H.R.2020 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (05/07/2003)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2020 Introduced in House (IH)]

  1st Session
                                H. R. 2020

  To reduce the impacts of hurricanes, tornadoes, and related hazards 
through a program of research and development and technology transfer, 
                        and for other purposes.



                              May 7, 2003

Mr. Moore (for himself, Mr. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Ms. McCarthy 
of Missouri, Ms. Hart, Mr. Carson of Oklahoma, Mr. Snyder, Mr. Graves, 
Mr. Tanner, Mr. Ryun of Kansas, Mr. Skelton, Mr. Lucas of Oklahoma, and 
Mr. McIntyre) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
       Committee on Science, and in addition to the Committee on 
  Transportation and Infrastructure, for a period to be subsequently 
   determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such 
 provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


                                 A BILL

  To reduce the impacts of hurricanes, tornadoes, and related hazards 
through a program of research and development and technology transfer, 
                        and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Hurricane, Tornado, and Related 
Hazards Research Act''.


    The Congress finds the following:
            (1) Natural disasters cause enormous loss of life. Almost 
        all States and territories are at risk from the effects of 1 or 
        more types of natural disaster. Coastal States and many island 
        States and territories are vulnerable to the hazards of 
        windstorms. All Midwest, Southern, and Mid-Atlantic States are 
        vulnerable to the hazards of tornadoes and thunderstorms and 
        increased building activity is occurring in high-risk areas 
        such as the seashore and ``tornado alley''.
            (2) Hurricanes, which combine high winds and flooding, and 
        related natural disasters cause enormous loss of life, injury, 
        destruction of property, and economic and social disruption, as 
        evidenced by the 56 deaths and $6,000,000,000 in property 
        damage in 1999 from Hurricane Floyd. From 1990 to 1999 
        hurricanes caused an average of 14 deaths and $4,970,000,000 in 
        property losses annually while tornadoes and other windstorms 
        caused over 58 deaths and $871,000,000 in property losses 
            (3) Improved windstorm and related hazard reduction 
        measures have the potential over the next 10 years to reduce 
        these losses that will only increase if steps are not taken to 
        help communities reduce their vulnerability. These measures 
                    (A) cost-effective and affordable design and 
                construction methods and practices;
                    (B) effective mitigation programs at the local, 
                State, and national level;
                    (C) informed land use decisions;
                    (D) impact prediction methodologies and early 
                warning systems;
                    (E) application of research results; and
                    (F) public education and outreach programs.
            (4) Engineering research needs to address both improving 
        new structures and retrofitting existing ones.
            (5) There is an appropriate role for the Federal Government 
        in the collection, preparation, coordination, and dissemination 
        of windstorm and related hazards reduction information in order 
        to protect public health and safety and in increasing public 
        awareness of the dangers of these hazards and of affordable 
        steps homeowners can take to preserve life and property. 
        Improved outreach and implementation mechanisms are needed to 
        translate existing information and research findings into 
        usable, state-of-the-art specifications, criteria, and cost-
        effective practices for design and construction professionals, 
        State and local officials, manufacturers, and the public.
            (6) An effective Federal program in windstorm and related 
        hazard reduction will require interagency coordination, input 
        from individuals and institutions outside the Federal 
        Government who are expert in the sciences of natural hazards 
        reduction and in the practical application of mitigation 
        measures, and improved mechanisms for the transfer of new 
        knowledge to State and local officials, to homeowners, and to 
        the design and construction industry. Tax credits are an 
        effective incentive for helping homeowners apply mitigation 
            (7) Windstorms and related hazards are a worldwide problem, 
        and international cooperation is desirable for mutual learning 
        and mitigation.


    In this Act:
            (1) The term ``Director'' means the Director of the Office 
        of Science and Technology Policy.
            (2) The term ``related hazards'' means any naturally 
        destructive environmental phenomena related to windstorms such 
        as flooding, wildfires, and hail, and any major hazard of human 
        origin potentially resulting in similar destruction, including 
        terrorist acts.
            (3) The term ``State'' means each of the States of the 
        United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of 
        Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American 
        Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and 
        any other territory or possession of the United States.
            (4) The term ``windstorm'' means any storm with a damaging 
        or destructive wind component, such as a hurricane, tropical 
        storm, tornado, or thunderstorm.


    (a) Interagency Group.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Director shall establish an Interagency 
Group consisting of representatives of appropriate Federal agencies, 
including the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, the National Institute of Standards and 
Technology, the Department of Energy, and other agencies with 
jurisdiction over housing, construction, and natural disaster 
mitigation and relief, to be responsible for the development and 
implementation of a coordinated Federal windstorm and related hazards 
reduction research, development, and technology transfer program based 
on identified public needs. In establishing the Interagency Group, the 
Director is encouraged, where appropriate, to designate lead agencies 
and to preserve existing programs and functions of Federal agencies and 
organizations, and shall ensure regular agency coordination and 
information sharing.
    (b) Objective.--The objective of the windstorm and related hazard 
impact reduction program is the achievement, within 10 years after the 
date of the enactment of this Act, of major measurable reductions in 
losses that would otherwise have occurred to life and property from 
windstorms and related hazards. The objective is to be achieved through 
the creation of a program involving cooperation among governments at 
all levels and the private sector featuring--
            (1) pertinent basic research and applied research based on 
        identified public needs, which takes into account locality-
        specific weather, susceptibility to natural hazards, design and 
        construction practices, and performance of the built 
        environment during windstorms and related hazards;
            (2) better understanding of costs and benefits associated 
        with natural hazard impact reduction;
            (3) systematic collection of physical and performance data 
        for buildings and other structures for use in developing and 
        deploying mitigation measures;
            (4) an ongoing program of information dissemination on 
        cost-effective and affordable hazard reduction research results 
        and hazard-resistant building construction techniques to 
        industry, State and local governments, homeowners, and the 
        general public;
            (5) improved technology for loss estimation, risk 
        assessment, hazard identification, prediction, warnings, 
        advanced planning, and disaster response;
            (6) increased public awareness of the dangers of windstorms 
        and related hazards, and the value of taking preventative 
        action to preserve affected property and life; and
            (7) priority attention to critical lifelines, including 
        infrastructure and utilities, that are especially needed in 
        time of disaster.
    (c) Research and Development Elements.--The research and 
development elements of the program may include--
            (1) peer-reviewed research and development on and 
        demonstration of disaster-resistant systems, based on 
        identified public needs, and materials for new construction and 
        retrofit of existing construction, including composite 
        materials; building envelope components, including windows, 
        doors, and roofs; structural design; and design and 
        construction techniques, through physical testing and 
        postdisaster assessments, and through computer simulation when 
        appropriate, taking into consideration life safety and cost-
        effectiveness, affordability, and regional differences 
        including susceptibility to windstorm and related hazards;
            (2) development of quantitative assessment techniques to 
        evaluate the direct, indirect, and societal costs and benefits 
        associated with natural hazards, including exploration of 
        mitigation measures that could reduce windstorm vulnerability, 
        and to effectively exploit existing and developing mitigation 
            (3) development of mechanisms for collecting and 
        inventorying information on building systems and materials 
        performance in windstorms and related hazards, information on 
        identified public mitigation priorities, and other pertinent 
        information from sources such as the construction industry, 
        insurance companies, and building officials;
            (4) development of cost-effective and affordable planning, 
        design, construction, rehabilitation, and retrofit methods and 
        procedures, including utilization of mitigation measures, for 
        critical lifelines and facilities such as hospitals, schools, 
        public utilities, and other structures that are especially 
        needed in time of disaster;
            (5) research and development on wind characterization and 
        micro-climates and on techniques, methodologies, and new 
        technologies for the mapping in finer detail of windstorms and 
        related hazard risks, to be coordinated with the mapping of 
        other natural and manmade hazards;
            (6) development of improved loss estimation and risk 
        assessment systems for predicting and evaluating damaging 
        windstorm impacts and for identifying, evaluating, and reliably 
        characterizing windstorm hazards; and
            (7) development of improved approaches for providing 
        emergency services, reconstruction, and redevelopment after a 
        windstorm or related hazard event.
    (d) Technology Transfer.--The technology transfer elements of the 
program shall include--
            (1) the collection, classification, presentation, and 
        dissemination in a usable form to Federal, State, and local 
        officials, community leaders, the design and construction 
        industry, contractors, home owners, and the general public, of 
        research results, cost-effective construction techniques, loss 
        estimation and risk assessment methodologies, and other 
        pertinent information regarding windstorm phenomena, the 
        identification of locations and features which are especially 
        susceptible to natural hazard damage, ways to reduce the 
        adverse consequences of natural hazards, and related matters;
            (2) in coordination with the private sector, academia, and 
        the States, curriculum development and related measures to 
        facilitate the training of employees of the design and 
        construction industry, the insurance industry, and State and 
        local governments, and other interested persons; and
            (3) development of an outreach effort to increase public 
        and community awareness, including information related to 
        windstorm and related hazard mitigation.
    (e) Implementation Plan.--The Interagency Group established under 
subsection (a) shall refine, in conjunction with appropriate 
representatives of State and local units of government and private 
sector organizations, the objective stated in subsection (b), develop 
measurements related to the objective, including emphasis on safety, 
cost-effectiveness, and affordability, and develop a 10-year 
implementation plan for achieving the objective with a strategic review 
of goals and objectives every 3 years, working in coordination with the 
private sector and State and local government for implementation in all 
appropriate instances. Not later than 210 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Interagency Group shall submit to the 
Congress the implementation plan. The plan shall include--
            (1) a statement of strategic research and development goals 
        and priorities;
            (2) plans for the development of improved forecasting 
        techniques for windstorms, early warning systems, and systems 
        for comprehensive response;
            (3) plans for the development of a systematic method for 
        collecting an inventory of buildings, building components, and 
        damage to buildings from natural hazards;
            (4) a strategy to implement the transfer of technology and 
        information to State, county, local, and regional governmental 
        units and the private sector for appropriate implementation of 
        research and development results;
            (5) provisions for outreach and dissemination, on a timely 
        basis, of--
                    (A) information and technology in a form that is of 
                use to the design professions, the construction 
                industry, and other interested parties; and
                    (B) other information and knowledge of interest to 
                the public to reduce vulnerability to wind and related 
            (6) a description of how Federal disaster relief and 
        emergency assistance programs will incorporate research and 
        development results;
            (7) establishment, consistent with this Act, of goals, 
        priorities, and target dates for implementation of the program;
            (8) assignment of responsibilities with respect to each 
        element of the program that does not already have a Federal 
        lead agency;
            (9) a description of plans for cooperation and coordination 
        in all phases of the program with interested governmental 
        entities in all States, particularly those containing areas of 
        high or moderate wind and related hazard risk; and
            (10) staffing plans for the program and its components.
    (f) Participation.--The implementation plan shall complement 
existing Federal research programs and shall avoid duplication of 
existing programs including earthquake programs whenever possible and 
assign responsibilities to Federal agencies with existing expertise.
    (g) Budget Coordination.--The Director shall each year, after 
consulting with the Interagency Group established under section 4(a), 
provide guidance to the other program agencies concerning the 
preparation of requests for appropriations for activities related to 
this Act, and shall prepare, in conjunction with the other program 
agencies, an annual program budget to be submitted to the Office of 
Management and Budget. Each program agency shall include with its 
annual request for appropriations submitted to the Office of Management 
and Budget a report that--
            (1) identifies each element of the proposed program 
        activities of the agency;
            (2) specifies how each of these activities contributes to 
        the program; and
            (3) states the portion of its request for appropriations 
        allocated to each element of the program.
    (h) Manufactured Housing Standards.--Nothing in this Act supersedes 
any provision of the National Manufactured Housing Construction and 
Safety Standards Act of 1974. No design, construction method, practice, 
technology, material, mitigation methodology, or hazard reduction 
measure of any kind developed under this Act shall be required for a 
home certified under section 616 of the National Manufactured Housing 
Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5415), 
pursuant to standards issued under such Act, without being subject to 
the consensus development process and rulemaking procedures of that 

              IMPACT REDUCTION.

    (a) Establishment.--A National Advisory Committee shall be 
established to review progress made under the program established under 
section 4, advise on any improvements that should be made to that 
program, and report to the Congress on actions that have been taken to 
advance the Nation's capability to reduce the impacts of windstorm and 
related hazards.
    (b) Membership.--The Advisory Committee shall be composed of no 
more than 21 members to be appointed by the President (one of whom 
shall be designated by the President as chair). The members shall 
include representatives of a broad cross-section of interests such as 
the research, technology transfer, architectural, engineering, and 
financial communities; materials and systems suppliers; State, county, 
and local governments concerned with the reduction of windstorm and 
related hazards; the residential, multifamily, and commercial sectors 
of the construction industry; and the insurance industry, and other 
representatives (not including members of Federal agencies) from areas 
impacted by windstorms and related hazards.
    (c) Coordination.--The Advisory Committee shall coordinate with 
existing advisory committees of the Federal Government and of the 
National Academies of Science and Engineering.
    (d) Annual Report.--The Advisory Committee shall provide a summary 
report to Congress each year.
    (e) Exemption.--Section 14 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act 
shall not apply to the Advisory Committee established under this 


    The Interagency Group established under section 4(a) shall, within 
180 days after the end of each fiscal year, submit a report to the 
Congress describing the status of the windstorm and related hazards 
reduction program, describing progress achieved during the preceding 
fiscal year, by government at all levels and by the private sector, 
toward achieving the objective stated in section 4(b) and implementing 
the plan developed under section 4(e), and including any amendments to 
the implementation plan. Each such report shall include any 
recommendations for legislative and other action the Interagency Group 
considers necessary and appropriate.


    There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out activities 
under this Act $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2004, $50,000,000 for fiscal 
year 2005, and $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2006.