By Diarmuid O'Dea
Funding for the Shake Alert Earthquake Early Warning System on the west coast of the United States has been reinstated for the 2018 United States Budget. President Trump had omitted the 10.2 million dollars necessary for the continued development of the system in the budget he sent to Congress in April.
It was the hard work of California congressman Kevin Calvert (R-CA) in the House Appropriations (Department of ) Interior subcommittee that steered the funding back into the budget. The funding will be coordinated by the United States Geological Survey which is part of the Department of Interior. The Secretary of the Interior is Ryan Zinke , a former Montana Congressman and graduate of the University of Oregon.
Shake Alert is coordinated by four universities : University of Oregon, University of Washington, Cal Tech and UC Berkeley. Most of the heavy lifting is done by the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network on behalf of the USGS on the campus of the University of Oregon with significant input from California Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
On completion, Shake Alert will provide an earthquake Early Warning System for residents of California, Oregon and Washington with the the potential to be expanded to other areas where seismic activity poses a threat to the public. There is still significant work to be done to set up the actual "last mile" of the system and to formulate the actual "message' that will be delivered to the public and industry. Currently, only Mexico and Japan have effective earthquake early warning systems.
The final budget needs to be approved the the entire House of Representatives and Senate and signed by the President.