Gluesenkamp Perez’s Bipartisan Provisions to Extend Landslide Protections Pass House

May 03, 2024
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visits the SR 504 debris slide in August.

This week, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) voted with the House of Representatives to reauthorize the National Landslide Preparedness Act through 2028, which would help save lives, protect communities and property, and improve natural disaster emergency preparedness.

Earlier this year, Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), and Kim Schrier, MD (WA-08), introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the program – mirroring the text passed this week as part of the Weather Act Reauthorization Act of 2023, which now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Since 2021, the National Landslide Preparedness Act has helped address key gaps in science and mapping critical to understanding landslide hazards. This information helps communities plan for and respond to natural hazards, update the nation’s topographical maps, and inform public safety, national security, planning, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and natural resource management.

“Landslides are dangerous, damage our infrastructure, and can cut off access for emergency services. Southwest Washington has recently experienced several landslides, impacting Interstate 5, Amtrak operations, and access to Mount St. Helens. Small landslides occur frequently in the Columbia River Gorge where I live, and I know from my discussions that these can be crippling for small businesses, impact entire communities, and take all hands on deck to overcome,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “I’m glad the House overwhelmingly passed this bipartisan legislation to help our communities stay prepared and identify landslide-prone areas before it’s too late.”

Last summer, Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visited the site of the SR 504 debris slide to speak with affected small business owners and see the efforts to rebuild firsthand. She also successfully encouraged WSDOT to implement signage indicating the Coldwater Visitor Center remained open, so travelers would continue to support impacted small businesses.

The reauthorization includes key pieces of the National Landslide Preparedness Act, set to expire this year:

  • Expanded early warning systems: The law expanded existing early warning systems for post-wildfire landslides in recently burned areas across the United States. It also required procedures to be developed for federal monitoring of stormwater drainage in areas with a high risk of landslides, in coordination with state, local, and tribal governments.
  • Federal program focused specifically on landslide hazards: The law established a National Landslides Hazard Reduction program through the U.S. Geological Survey, which is identifying risks and hazards from landslides to protect at-risk communities and improve communication and emergency preparedness.
  • New maps to help communities prepare for landslide risk: The law directed the USGS to implement a 3D Elevation Program to increase data collection and landslide threat identification across the country. Enhanced elevation data, such as LIDAR, is critical for numerous reasons—to help communities plan for and respond to natural hazards; to update the nation’s topographical maps; and to inform a myriad of uses including public safety, national security, planning, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and natural resource management.
  • Landslide-related grant programs: The law authorized new programs to provide funding to state, territorial, local, and tribal governments for landslide research, mapping, assessment, and data collection.
  • Committees that better deal with landslide risks: The law established an advisory committee on landslides and creates an interagency committee to coordinate better landslide responses from the multiple government agencies with jurisdiction.

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