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Quake warning system may be in place by 2018

Adam Schiff (203160)
Adam Schiff

Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Burbank), praised Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision to reverse himself and seek state funds for an earthquake early warning system that could come online as early as 2018.

“We now have full buy-in from California and the federal government,’’ Schiff told the Los Angeles Times. “I think we’re now on track to get this system up and running…. With this increment of funding, and the additional federal funding we hope to get this year, it should be a matter of a couple of years before we can build this system out.’’

Schiff, who has championed federal funding of the warning system, said he hopes Brown’s decision encourages Oregon and Washington state to follow suit and induces private industry to contribute.

The governor has supported creation of the system, which can give as much as a minute of warning before shaking from a big earthquake hits urban areas. But until now, Brown and the state Legislature opposed providing funds from the state’s budget, arguing the money should come from only private and federal sources, The Times reported.

Brown’s change of heart is reflected in a revised state budget draft that asks the Legislature to allocate $10 million toward the system, which is being developed by the U.S. Geological Survey and university researchers.

Earthquake-prone California has fallen far behind other areas, including Japan, Mexico and Taiwan, in developing an earthquake warning system, The Times reported. The network for California and the rest of the West Coast has been repeatedly delayed because of a lack of funding.

“This is going to be a huge boost to the build out of the system. The infusion of state funding will allow us to surge forward,’’ Doug Given, the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake early warning coordinator, told the newspaper. “We have the intent of doing limited public rollout by 2018.’