Trump Budget cuts Earthquake Early Warning System

What’s the latest news from our president, Donald Trump? Besides him insulting our allies in NATO, the Pope’s snub of the president that is going viral on social media, or Melania Trump swatting away the president’s hand when he tried to hold hers — that video has gone viral as well — besides the news that Trump’s top advisor — his son-in-law — is now a “Person of Interest” in the FBI’s Russia investigation — he wanted to set up a “back channel” to the Kremlin from the residence of the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. — besides all the other Russiagate-related news swirling around the Trump Administration, not to mention the “Poor People Suck and Should Die” budget and the Trumpcare/Deathcare proposal? Well, the Los Angeles Times is reporting President Trump wants to cut the funding for the Earthquake Early Warning System that would be of great help to California and the rest of the west coast.

A Venice Beach mural (Denise Garratt)

California doesn’t just have sanctuary cities, it’s a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants and we know how much President Trump hates immigrants, especially the undocumented ones.

  • Just a brief aside: Did you know there is no legal definition of the term “Sanctuary City”? What it actually means is cities direct their law enforcement agencies to not check for immigration or citizenship status when coming in contact with the public. The rationale, first enacted by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1979, is designed, “… to assure immigrant communities within the city of Los Angeles that there is no need to fear contact with the LAPD when they have been the victim or a witness to a crime.”

Not to mention Hillary Clinton won the state by overwhelming numbers and the state is predominantly Democratic. Both Washington and Oregon went for Clinton in 2016 — the Left Coast overwhelmingly rejects Donald J. Trump as president.

So, what is a narcissistic, thin-skinned, petty little dictator wanna-be to do with a region of the country that doesn’t like him? Cut funding for a project that will benefit that region — and allow oil and mineral companies to expand their exploration, drilling and mining into areas previously protected from such development.

A screen shot of the “ShakeAlert” app (USGS)

An Earthquake Early Warning System could save lives, many lives, in the event of a massive earthquake. Scientists are predicting “The Big One” is imminent and it will most likely hit close to the Los Angeles area, ground zero for the “Dump Trump” Hollywood elitist crowd.

Several countries already have Earthquake Early Warning Systems (EEWS) — Japan and Taiwan use them nationwide, Canada has one for its west coast, British Columbia in particular, Romania is developing one for public use — Mexico has a limited EEWS — and even California has a limited EEWS that alerts first responders and management of certain parts of the infrastructure, like bridges and dams.

EEW systems don’t predict earthquakes, rather, they detect seismic activity that is going to result in a medium or large earthquake. Seconds, maybe even minutes, before anyone actually feels an earthquake rumbling, they would receive an alert, via their smartphones, letting them know to take protective action.

Earthquake Early Warning Systems got their start in the United States, as many scientific achievements do, but was picked up by other countries and further developed for practical application. The U.S., with its government controlled by one anti-science political party (GOP) for much of the past 25 years, has been slow to develop a system that could save lives.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed the ShakeAlert early warning system, with the University of California, Berkeley, Seismological Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Oregon and the University of Washington. When the system is fully developed and deployed everyone with a smart phone can get the app. When it has been used with beta users it has given 5-8 seconds notice to residents in the Bay Area.

The system being adopted here detects the “P-Waves” that precede the actual shaking of the earthquake. If those can be detected early enough and broadcast to the public, it would save lives and lower injuries. Currently the beta users in California include: CalOES (California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services) Warning Center, Los Angeles County Fire, Los Angeles City OEM (Office of Emergency Management), Amgen Corp, LADWP, Metrolink, Caltrans and Disneyland.

ShakeAlert system (Wikipedia)

To expand the network the USGS would like to install more seismometers to facilitate faster notification for each area of the region and hire people to keep the system working properly.

But, in President Trump’s budget, the funding would be cut and the research and work of the USGS would be limited to “…core USGS science and efficiency.”

In the USGS statement on the proposed budget for the agency it is clearly stated, “This elimination would end USGS efforts to implement the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning system.” Are we talking billions of dollars here? No, it’s less than $10 million and the system is already being developed.

The USGS is part of the Department of the Interior and the department’s budget also includes opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to development and allow for more oil and gas development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) — more platforms off the West Coast. It’s a budget designed to give the oil companies more profit.

It will also expand oil exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, cancel parts of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act and stops the Department of the Interior from purchasing more land to protect from development. In other words it’s a big give away to oil and mineral companies that will develop and destroy those areas where they believe more resources can be found.

This is President Trump’s idea of improving the infrastructure. So, no EEWS for you, West Coast. Instead you will get more oilrigs off your coast. Enjoy.

Top photo of Los Angeles by Tim Forkes