Landslide Bill Clears Congress
Fairfax,VA – John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. (JMP&A), the nation’s leading government relations and association management firm representing the surveying, mapping, GIS, and geospatial community, applauded yesterday’s passage of the bi-partisan “National Landslide Preparedness Act”, H.R. 8810, in the U.S. Senate. The Senate action, by unanimous consent, followed earlier approval by the House of Representatives and clears the bill for signature into law by President Trump.
The Senate bill was introduced and championed by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), along with Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The original companion bill in the House was introduced by Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA). The bill establishes a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to better identify and understand landslide risks, protect communities, save lives and property, and improve emergency preparedness.
The bill codifies the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) to update and coordinate the collection of elevation data across the country using enhanced, high-resolution surveys, primarily through Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR). Enhanced elevation data helps communities plan for and respond to natural hazards and provides critical data to inform decision-making for numerous applications, including public safety, national security, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and natural resource management. Additionally, the bill authorizes a USGS program to collect data on subsidence, a phenomenon of the sudden sinking or gradual downward settling of the ground’s surface.
JMP&A leads the group of supporting organizations for the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) known as the 3DEP Coalition. On behalf of its clients the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization (U.S. GEO), and Geospatial Equipment & Technology Institute (GETI), combined with several members of the U.S. Geological Survey Coalition, JMP&A contributed to efforts in support of the bill’s passage.
JMP&A President John Palatiello said, “We commend Representative DelBene, Senators Cantwell and Murkowski, and their colleagues and cosponsors for their leadership in passing this important legislation. The National Landslide Preparedness Act also codifies 3DEP to update and coordinate the collection of elevation data across the country and begin interagency coordination by USGS, and engagement of private practice surveyors, on a National Land Level Change (NLLC) map so that subsidence can be addressed on infrastructure projects and other activities.
“Six years after the Oso landslide, everyone in the State of Washington remembers the devastating impacts landslides can have,” Senator Cantwell said. “This bill would dramatically increase our use of LIDAR data needed to map, identify, and track landslide risk areas. Employing our best science and mapping technologies will help communities across our state save lives, safeguard property, and improve our emergency planning and response.”
“Washington state knows too well the devastating impact landslides and natural disasters can have in the blink of an eye. We must do all that we can to safeguard our communities and honor those that we lost. The National Landslide Preparedness Act will help us better prepare for and mitigate future events by collecting invaluable data that will protect lives and property,” said Representative DelBene. “The next natural disaster should not become our next national tragedy.”
“Two young Alaskans remain missing after landslides devastated Haines earlier this month, which remains under threat of even more landslides,” Murkowski said. “The tragedy in Haines, the threat from the Barry Arm landslide in Prince William Sound, and the 2015 Sitka landslides are some recent real-world examples of why there needs to be a national strategy to prepare for, monitor, and respond to landslides. I’m glad that we can finally round out the suite of hazards programs and complement the great work already being done by our federal partners to address earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and avalanches.”
“Credit also goes to John “JB” Byrd, Vice President at JMP&A, and organizer of the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) Coalition for his leadership coordinating the leading stakeholders who support this legislation. We look forward to working with The White House and President Trump as the final step for the bill’s enactment,” Palatiello said.
John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., (www.jmpa.us) a public affairs consulting firm based in the Washington, DC suburb of Fairfax, VA, provides government relations, public relations, association management, strategic planning, event planning, and management and marketing consulting services to private firms, associations, and government agencies with an emphasis on the architecture and engineering; geospatial, mapping and GIS; construction; transportation and infrastructure, and land use sectors. The firm is a subsidiary of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC (www.mwcapitol.com)