KODIAK — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released more information about proposed funding cuts to its tsunami warning network, saying the $4.6 million reduction will not affect emergency alerts.
In a news release, NOAA offered a point-by-point rebuttal of accusations levied by the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which analyzed the cuts Feb. 22.
“NOAA will continue to operate the most mission-critical tsunami activities, specifically full funding to operate the tsunami warning centers, support for the critical observing system networks (i.e., seismic networks), continue to maintain the DART buoy network, and continue the TsunamiReady preparedness and education program,” the statement reads.
In the statement, NOAA says the elimination of funding to the Tsunami Warning and Environmental Observatory for Alaska is the result of expiring funding and not outright cuts.
“In large part, programs funded under TWEAK were redundant efforts NOAA has underway elsewhere in the agency,” the statement reads. “These programs will continue.”
In the release, NOAA says it will “work in partnership with Alaska” when it comes to tsunami science.
NOAA admits funding reductions will reduce its ability to maintain tsunami buoys at sea, but says those buoys are needed only to confirm a tsunami, not issue warnings.
On Thursday night, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly unanimously approved a resolution asking the state of Alaska to continue funding the Alaska Seismic Hazards Safety Commission, and several assembly members said the state program will become more important as federal funding declines.
“It’s probably going to become even more important in the future,” said borough Mayor Jerome Selby. “If the feds are going to cut funding, we’re going to have to rely on the Alaska commissions and Alaska to do more.”
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