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S. 53 (115th): Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2017

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jan 5, 2017.

Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2017

This bill revises and reauthorizes through FY2021 the Tsunami Warning and Education Act.

The tsunami warning systems for the Pacific and Arctic Oceans and for the Atlantic Ocean are consolidated into a single warning system. The system must support international tsunami forecasting and warning efforts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) must support or maintain tsunami warning centers to support the national warning system and develop uniform operational procedures for the centers. Warning centers are given additional responsibilities, including maintaining a fail-safe warning capability and an ability to perform back-up duties for each other.

The tsunami hazard mitigation program must provide for: (1) technical and financial assistance; (2) activities to support the development of regional hazard and risk assessments; (3) activities to promote preparedness in at-risk ports and harbors; and (4) dissemination of guidelines and standards for community planning, education, and training products, programs, and tools.

The tsunami research program must develop the technical basis for validation of tsunami maps, models, and forecasts.

NOAA no longer has to operate an International Tsunami Information Center to improve tsunami preparedness for Pacific Ocean nations.

NOAA must: (1) designate an existing working group to serve as the Tsunami Science and Technology Advisory Panel to provide advice on matters regarding tsunami science, technology, and regional preparedness; (2) maintain a coordinating committee to assist in the national tsunami hazard mitigation program; and (3) develop formal outreach activities to improve tsunami education and awareness and foster the development of resilient communities.