H. R. 34
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
To authorize and strengthen the tsunami detection, forecast, warning, research, and mitigation program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015.
References to the Tsunami Warning and Education Act
Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.).
Expansion of purposes of Tsunami Warning and Education Act
Section 3 (33 U.S.C. 3202) is amended—
in paragraph (1), by inserting
by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:
to enhance and modernize the existing United States Tsunami Warning System to increase the accuracy of forecasts and warnings, to maintain full coverage of tsunami detection assets, and to reduce false alarms;
by amending paragraph (3) to read as follows:
to improve and develop standards and guidelines for mapping, modeling, and assessment efforts to improve tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, mitigation, resiliency, response, outreach, and recovery;
by redesignating paragraphs (4), (5), and (6) as paragraphs (5), (6), and (8), respectively;
by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
to improve research efforts related to improving tsunami detection, forecasting, warnings, notification, mitigation, resiliency, response, outreach, and recovery;
in paragraph (5), as so redesignated—
and increase and inserting
, increase, and develop uniform standards and guidelines for; and
, including the warning signs of locally generated tsunami after
in paragraph (6), as so redesignated, by striking
, including the Indian Ocean; and and inserting a semicolon; and
by inserting after paragraph (6), as so redesignated, the following:
to foster resilient communities in the face of tsunami and other coastal hazards; and
Modification of tsunami forecasting and warning program
Subsection (a) of section 4 (33 U.S.C. 3203) is amended by striking
Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico region and inserting
Atlantic Ocean region, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
Subsection (b) of such section 4 is amended—
in paragraph (1), by striking
established and inserting
supported or maintained;
in paragraph (4), by inserting
and safeguarding port and harbor operations after
in paragraph (7)—
, including graphical warning products, after
, territories, after
and Wireless Emergency Alerts after
Hazards Program; and
in paragraph (8), by inserting
and commercial and Federal undersea communications cables after
Tsunami warning system
Subsection (c) of such section 4 is amended to read as follows:
Tsunami warning system
The program under this section shall operate a tsunami warning system that—
is capable of forecasting tsunami, including forecasting tsunami arrival time and inundation estimates, anywhere in the Pacific and Arctic Ocean regions and providing adequate warnings;
is capable of forecasting and providing adequate warnings in areas of the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, that are determined—
to be geologically active, or to have significant potential for geological activity; and
to pose significant risks of tsunami for States along the coastal areas of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, or Gulf of Mexico; and
supports other international tsunami forecasting and warning efforts.
Tsunami warning centers
Subsection (d) of such section 4 is amended to read as follows:
Tsunami warning centers
The Administrator shall support or maintain centers to support the tsunami warning system required by subsection (c). The Centers shall include—
the National Tsunami Warning Center, located in Alaska, which is primarily responsible for Alaska and the continental United States;
the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, located in Hawaii, which is primarily responsible for Hawaii, the Caribbean, and other areas of the Pacific not covered by the National Center; and
any additional forecast and warning centers determined by the National Weather Service to be necessary.
The responsibilities of the centers supported or maintained pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include the following:
Continuously monitoring data from seismological, deep ocean, coastal sea level, and tidal monitoring stations and other data sources as may be developed and deployed.
Evaluating earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions that have the potential to generate tsunami.
Evaluating deep ocean buoy data and tidal monitoring stations for indications of tsunami resulting from earthquakes and other sources.
To the extent practicable, utilizing a range of models to predict tsunami arrival times and flooding estimates.
Disseminating forecasts and tsunami warning bulletins to Federal, State, and local government officials and the public.
Coordinating with the tsunami hazard mitigation program conducted under section 5 to ensure ongoing sharing of information between forecasters and emergency management officials.
Making data gathered under this Act and post-warning analyses conducted by the National Weather Service or other relevant Administration offices available to researchers.
Fail-safe warning capability
The tsunami warning centers supported or maintained pursuant to paragraph (1) shall maintain a fail-safe warning capability and ability to perform back-up duties for each other.
Coordination with National Weather Service
The National Weather Service shall coordinate with the centers supported or maintained pursuant to paragraph (1) to ensure that regional and local forecast offices—
have the technical knowledge and capability to disseminate tsunami warnings for the communities they serve; and
leverage connections with local emergency management officials for optimally disseminating tsunami warnings and forecasts.
Uniform operating procedures
The Administrator shall—
develop uniform operational procedures for the centers supported or maintained pursuant to paragraph (1), including the use of software applications, checklists, decision support tools, and tsunami warning products that have been standardized across the program supported under this section;
ensure that processes and products of the warning system operated pursuant to subsection (c)—
reflect industry best practices;
conform to the maximum extent practicable with internationally recognized standards for information technology; and
conform to the maximum extent practicable with other warning products and practices of the National Weather Service;
ensure that future adjustments to operational protocols, processes, and warning products—
are made consistently across the warning system operated pursuant to subsection (c); and
are applied in a uniform manner across such warning system; and
disseminate guidelines and metrics for evaluating and improving tsunami forecast models.
The Administrator, through the National Weather Service, shall ensure that resources are available to fulfill the obligations of this Act. This includes ensuring supercomputing resources are available to run such computer models as are needed for purposes of the tsunami warning system operated pursuant to subsection (c).
Transfer of technology; maintenance and upgrades
Subsection (e) of such section 4 is amended to read as follows:
Transfer of technology; maintenance and upgrades
In carrying out this section, the Administrator shall—
develop requirements for the equipment used to forecast tsunami, including—
provisions for multipurpose detection platforms;
reliability and performance metrics; and
to the maximum extent practicable, requirements for the integration of equipment with other United States and global ocean and coastal observation systems, the global Earth observing system of systems, the global seismic networks, and the Advanced National Seismic System;
develop and execute a plan for the transfer of technology from ongoing research conducted as part of the program supported or maintained under section 6 into the program under this section; and
ensure that the Administration’s operational tsunami detection equipment is properly maintained.
Subsection (f) of such section 4 is amended to read as follows:
When deploying and maintaining tsunami detection technologies under the program under this section, the Administrator shall—
identify which assets of other Federal agencies are necessary to support such program; and
work with each agency identified under paragraph (1)—
to acquire the agency’s assistance; and
to prioritize the necessary assets.
Such section 4 is further amended by striking subsections (g) through (k).
Modification of national tsunami hazard mitigation program
Section 5 (33 U.S.C. 3204) is amended by striking subsections (a) through (d) and inserting the following:
The Administrator, in consultation with the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the heads of such other agencies as the Administrator considers relevant, shall conduct a community-based tsunami hazard mitigation program to improve tsunami preparedness and resiliency of at-risk areas in the United States and the territories of the United States.
The Program conducted pursuant to subsection (a) shall include the following:
Technical and financial assistance to coastal States, territories, tribes, and local governments to develop and implement activities under this section.
Integration of tsunami preparedness and mitigation programs into ongoing State-based hazard warning, resilience planning, and risk management activities, including predisaster planning, emergency response, evacuation planning, disaster recovery, hazard mitigation, and community development and redevelopment programs in affected areas.
Activities to promote the adoption of tsunami resilience, preparedness, warning, and mitigation measures by Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local governments and nongovernmental entities, including educational and risk communication programs to discourage development in high-risk areas.
Activities to support the development of regional tsunami hazard and risk assessments, using inundation models that meet programmatic standards for accuracy. Such regional risk assessments may include the following:
The sources, sizes, and histories of tsunami in that region.
Inundation models and maps of critical infrastructure and socioeconomic vulnerability in areas subject to tsunami inundation.
Maps of evacuation areas and evacuation routes.
Evaluations of the size of populations that will require evacuation, including populations with special evacuation needs.
Activities to support the development of community-based outreach and education programs to ensure community readiness and resilience, including the following:
The development, implementation, and assessment of technical training and public education programs, including education programs that address unique characteristics of distant and near-field tsunami.
The development of decision support tools.
The incorporation of social science research into community readiness and resilience efforts.
The development of evidence-based education guidelines.
Dissemination of guidelines and standards for community planning, education, and training products, programs, and tools, including standards for—
inundation models; and
effective emergency exercises.
In addition to activities conducted under subsection (b), the program conducted pursuant to subsection (a) may include the following:
Multidisciplinary vulnerability assessment research, education, and training to help integrate risk management and resilience objectives with community development planning and policies.
Risk management training for local officials and community organizations to enhance understanding and preparedness.
Development of practical applications for existing or emerging technologies, such as modeling, remote sensing, geospatial technology, engineering, and observing systems.
Risk management, risk assessment, and resilience data and information services, including—
access to data and products derived from observing and detection systems; and
development and maintenance of new integrated data products to support risk management, risk assessment, and resilience programs.
Risk notification systems that coordinate with and build upon existing systems and actively engage decisionmakers, local and State government agencies, business communities, nongovernmental organizations, and the media.
Designation of at-risk areas
The establishment of national standards for inundation models under this section shall not prevent States, territories, tribes, and local governments from designating additional areas as being at risk based on knowledge of local conditions.
No new regulatory authority
Nothing in this Act may be construed as establishing new regulatory authority for any Federal agency.
Report on accreditation of TsunamiReady program
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a report on which authorities and activities would be needed to have the TsunamiReady program of the National Weather Service accredited by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program.
Modification of tsunami research program
Section 6 (33 U.S.C. 3205) is amended—
in the matter before paragraph (1), by striking
The Administrator shall and all that follows through
establish or maintain and inserting the following:
The Administrator shall, in consultation with such other Federal agencies, State and territorial governments, and academic institutions as the Administrator considers appropriate, the coordinating committee under section 11(b), and the panel under section 8(a), support or maintain
and assessment for tsunami tracking and numerical forecast modeling. Such research program shall— and inserting the following: “assessment for tsunami tracking and numerical forecast modeling, and standards development.
The research program supported or maintained pursuant to subsection (a) shall—
in subsection (b), as designated by paragraph (2)—
by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:
consider other appropriate research to mitigate the impact of tsunami, including the improvement of near-field tsunami detection and forecasting capabilities, which may include use of new generation Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supercomputer capacity to develop a rapid tsunami forecast for all United States coastlines;
in paragraph (3)—
include and inserting
and at the end;
by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5); and
by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
develop the technical basis for validation of tsunami maps, numerical tsunami models, digital elevation models, and forecasts; and
by adding at the end the following:
The Administrator may, pursuant to subsection (b), develop a pilot project for near-field tsunami forecast development for the Cascadia region along the west coast of the United States using new generation Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis, upcoming and existing cable networks, and new National Centers for Environmental Protection modeling capability.
Global tsunami warning and mitigation network
Section 7 (33 U.S.C. 3206) is amended—
by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
Support for development of international tsunami warning system
The Administrator shall, in coordination with the Secretary of State and in consultation with such other agencies as the Administrator considers relevant, provide technical assistance and training to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the World Meteorological Organization of the United Nations, and such other international entities as the Administrator considers appropriate, as part of the international efforts to develop a fully functional global tsunami forecast and warning system comprised of regional tsunami warning networks.
in subsection (b), by striking
shall and inserting
in subsection (c)—
in paragraph (1), by striking
establishing and inserting
in paragraph (2)—
establish and inserting
establishing and inserting
Tsunami science and technology advisory panel
The Act is further amended—
by redesignating section 8 (33 U.S.C. 3207) as section 9; and
by inserting after section 7 (33 U.S.C. 3206) the following:
Tsunami Science and Technology Advisory Panel
The Administrator shall designate an existing working group within the Science Advisory Board of the Administration to serve as the Tsunami Science and Technology Advisory Panel to provide advice to the Administrator on matters regarding tsunami science, technology, and regional preparedness.
The working group designated under subsection (a) shall be composed of no fewer than 7 members selected by the Administrator from among individuals from academia or State agencies who have academic or practical expertise in physical sciences, social sciences, information technology, coastal resilience, emergency management, or such other disciplines as the Administrator considers appropriate.
No member of the working group designated pursuant to subsection (a) may be a Federal employee.
Not less frequently than once every 4 years, the working group designated under subsection (a) shall—
review the activities of the Administration, and other Federal activities as appropriate, relating to tsunami research, detection, forecasting, warning, mitigation, resiliency, and preparation; and
submit to the Administrator and such others as the Administrator considers appropriate—
the findings of the working group with respect to the most recent review conducted pursuant to paragraph (1); and
such recommendations for legislative or administrative action as the working group considers appropriate to improve Federal tsunami research, detection, forecasting, warning, mitigation, resiliency, and preparation.
Reports to congress
Not less frequently than once every 4 years, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a report on the findings and recommendations received by the Administrator under subsection (c)(2).
Report on implementation of Tsunami Warning and Education Act
Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a report on the implementation of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3201 et seq.).
The report required by subsection (a) shall include the following:
A detailed description of the progress made in implementing sections 4(d)(6), 5(b)(6), and 6(b)(4) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act.
A description of the ways that tsunami warnings and warning products issued by the Tsunami Forecasting and Warning Program established under section 4 of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3203) can be standardized and streamlined with warnings and warning products for hurricanes, coastal storms, and other coastal flooding events.
Authorization of appropriations
Section 9 of the Act, as redesignated by section 8(a)(1) of this Act, is amended to read as follows:
Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator to carry out this Act $27,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2015 through 2017, of which—
not less than 27 percent of the amount appropriated for each fiscal year shall be for activities under the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program under section 5; and
not less than 8 percent of the amount appropriated for each fiscal year shall be for the Tsunami Research Program under section 6.
The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in coordination with State and local emergency managers, shall develop and carry out formal outreach activities to improve tsunami education and awareness and foster the development of resilient communities. Outreach activities may include—
the development of outreach plans to ensure the close integration of tsunami warning centers supported or maintained pursuant to section 4(d) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3203(d)) with local Weather Forecast Offices of the National Weather Service and emergency managers;
working with appropriate local Weather Forecast Offices to ensure they have the technical knowledge and capability to disseminate tsunami warnings to the communities they serve; and
evaluating the effectiveness of warnings and of coordination with local Weather Forecast Offices after significant tsunami events.
Coordinating committee of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program
The Administrator shall convene a coordinating committee to assist the Administrator in the conduct of the program required by section 5(a) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3204(a)).
The coordinating committee shall be composed of members from each of the States at risk from tsunami, and any other such representatives as the Administrator considers appropriate to represent Federal, State, tribal, territorial, and local governments.
The Administrator may approve the formation of subcommittees to address specific program components or regional issues.
The coordinating committee shall—
provide feedback on how funds should be prioritized to carry out the program required by section 5(a) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3204(a));
ensure that areas described in section 4(c) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3203(c)) in the United States and its territories have the opportunity to participate in the program;
provide recommendations to the Administrator on how to improve and continuously advance the TsunamiReady program, particularly on ways to make communities more tsunami resilient through the use of inundation maps and models and other hazard mitigation practices; and
ensure that all components of the program required by section 5(a) of the Tsunami Warning and Education Act (33 U.S.C. 3204(a)) are integrated with ongoing State-based hazard warning, risk management, and resilience activities, including—
integrating activities with emergency response plans, disaster recovery, hazard mitigation, and community development programs in affected areas; and
integrating information to assist in tsunami evacuation route planning.
Passed the House of Representatives January 7, 2015.
Karen L. Haas,