President Trump’s proposed budget would cut funding for an earthquake early warning system along the west coast. The cut would effectively kill the potentially life-saving program.
University of Oregon seismology professor Douglas Toomey says the ShakeAlert system, which is still in development, could give west coast cities up to 5 minutes warning in the case of a major earthquake.
Toomey: “Well, this is disappointing news to say the least. If the ShakeAlert budget goes to zero in 2018 that ends the program right when we’re gaining steam throughout the west coast and ready to do limited public roll-outs in fact in 2018.”
Toomey says regional partners, including Eugene Water and Electric Board, are already using the ShakeAlert program in pilot mode. An early warning system would give utilities time to take dams off line during an earthquake to minimize damage to infrastructure. Other countries, including Japan, have earthquake early warning systems already in place.