Press Releases

Rep. Porter Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Better Protect Against Natural Disasters

As California experiences record-breaking wildfire season, Congresswoman’s legislation would streamline research, inform smarter resilience policies

Washington, October 9, 2020

Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) today introduced bipartisan legislation to better protect Californians by standardizing research on natural disasters. The Disaster Learning and Life Saving Act, co-led by Congressman Garret Graves (LA-6), would establish an independent board to review underlying causes of natural disasters and make recommendations to all levels of government on how to keep Americans safe. Companion legislation was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz (HI) and Bill Cassidy (LA) today in the U.S. Senate.

“As California experiences yet another devastating wildfire season, it’s clear that we must do more to guard against natural disasters,” Congresswoman Porter said. “Orange County families have seen an uptick in the number and severity of natural disasters, so we know how important it is to have comprehensive research to make science-based policy. I’m proud to partner with Representative Graves, Senator Schatz, and Senator Cassidy to simplify the process for how this critical research is conducted and presented.”

"The National Transportation Safety Board has saved countless lives by carefully examining the causes of transportation accidents and identifying life-saving safety improvements to airplanes, trains, pipelines, and vessels. There is no question that we continue to repeat the same two mistakes when it comes to natural disasters — preparation and response.  As a result, thousands of American lives and hundreds of billions of dollars have needlessly been lost, " Congressman Graves said. "The National Disaster Safety Board will examine the causes of disasters and help to build upon some of our recent solutions to improve America’s preparedness and resilience. Based upon our recent disasters in Louisiana, I can give you one solution already — export the Cajun Navy to the other 49 states."

"With climate change causing more frequent and severe natural disasters, we need more data to make sure our communities are resilient and prepared to respond to the next crisis," Senator Schatz said. "Our bill creates a new independent board to investigate major natural disasters and gives policymakers and the public a full accounting of what happened and what should happen next."

“Americans across the country from the Gulf Coast to California are dealing with the results of natural disasters. Another hurricane is zeroing in on Louisiana right now,” Senator Cassidy said. “By establishing a natural disaster safety board, lessons learned from past disasters save lives and perhaps even prevent future disasters.”

Porter’s Disaster Learning and Life Saving Act would establish a National Disaster Safety Board (NDSB) modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board. The NDSB would be an independent, non-partisan agency, responsible for studying preparedness and emergency response during natural disasters. It would break down the silos between federal, state, and local government, and private industry to develop better and more complete lessons learned and improve planning for future emergencies. The legislation is endorsed by Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, American Society of Civil Engineers, Enterprise Community Partners, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and the Association of State Floodplain Managers. 

Throughout her time in Congress, Congresswoman Porter has made disaster safety a top priority. Last year, she hosted a town hall conversation for Orange County families on disaster preparedness with Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist and leading voice on earthquake safety. She has also repeatedly spoken out about the record number of wildfires in California and the urgent need to take immediate action against the climate crisis.

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