Trump Signs National Landslide Preparedness Act

2014 Oso Landslide in Washington State

President Trump signed into law H.R.8810 / S.529, also known as the “National Landslide Preparedness Act” earlier this month. The purpose of the bill is to “establish a national program to identify and reduce losses from landslide hazards, to establish a national 3D Elevation Program, and for other purposes.” The bill’s primary sponsors were Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) / Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The House bill was introduced in 2019 as H.R. 1261.

“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.”

Senator Maria Cantwell

Some of the key provisions of the law (as summarized by AIP) include:

  • Directs the U.S. Geological Survey to establish a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program and develop a national landslide hazards database
  • Directs USGS to expand early warning systems for post-wildfire debris flow
  • Authorizes a landslide hazards research grant program at USGS and the National Science Foundation
  • Funds the USGS, NSF, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration over three years to carry out the directed activities.

You can read the full H.R. 8810 text here. There is a committee report from the House of Representatives that lists the estimated budget from the Congressional Budget Office that indicates that subject to appropriations, a total of $148 million will be allocated for the Landslide Hazard Reduction Program over a period of 4 years, and about $160 million for the 3d Elevation Program.