Casey: Funding Needed for Flood Forecasting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of recent flooding, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called for increased funding for flood forecasting systems and weather monitoring technologies in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget.  The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering the fiscal 2012 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill today that covers these programs.

“It is my understanding that NOAA needs funding to avoid disruptions in its forecasting and weather predications systems,” wrote Senator Casey.  “We have an obligation to ensure that these systems and technologies are in place and operating properly.  I encourage the Committee to take steps in the fiscal 2012 budget to provide sufficient funding for these initiatives.”

Senator Casey continued, “I understand that cuts in this budgetary environment are necessary, but believe we should not indiscriminately eliminate funding for worthwhile initiatives that help our communities prepare for and protect against natural disasters.” 

Senator Casey has been a long-time advocate for flood forecasting. 

Senator Casey has worked with members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to secure congressionally-directed funding for flood forecasting.

Earlier this year he sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, urging the agency to fund the Susquehanna River Flood Forecasting and Warning System. Funding for the system, which helps communities located within the Susquehanna River basin prepare for flooding threats, was eliminated when the 2011 budget bill was blocked late last year.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission reports that for every dollar invested by the federal government, the System saves $20 through reduced flood damages and reduced payouts through the federal flood insurance program.

The full letter sent by Senator Casey is below.

September 15, 2011

Dear Chairman and Ranking Members:

In the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, I write to express my strong support for flood forecasting systems and weather monitoring technologies in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) budget as you consider the fiscal 2012 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.  We have an obligation to ensure that these systems and technologies are in place and operating properly.  I encourage the Committee to take steps in the fiscal 2012 budget to provide sufficient funding for these initiatives. 

It is my understanding that NOAA needs funding to avoid disruptions in its forecasting and weather predications systems.  As you know, NOAA provides funding to systems across the country that disseminates accurate data on flooding threats.  This information helps residents in these communities secure property and move to safer locations. 

Investing in flood forecasting systems supported by NOAA is cost-effective.  I have been informed that for every dollar invested by the federal government in flood forecasting systems, approximately $20 can be saved through reduced flood damages and reduced payouts by the federal flood insurance program. 

I understand that cuts in this budgetary environment are necessary, but believe we should not indiscriminately eliminate funding for worthwhile initiatives that help our communities prepare for and protect against natural disasters. 

Thank you for consideration of my views. 

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

 

 

###