PASADENA, Calif. (FOX 11) - The California earthquake early warning system is now in jeopardy due to the Trump administration's proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Seismologist, Dr. Tom Heaton is one of the pioneers of the system. A pilot rollout is scheduled for next year, but the proposed federal budget cuts would slash 9-million dollars in annual funding for the project.
"Loss of 9-million dollars would basically shut the project down." said Heaton.
Local lawmakers are also coming out against the proposed cuts including L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti who issued this statement:
“The president’s proposal to eliminate funding for the west coast’s earthquake early warning system is an abandonment of his duty to protect Americans, and I trust that our representatives in Congress will have the wisdom to reject a plan that could cost lives.” - Mayor Eric Garcetti.
During the demonstration, if a major quake hit the San Andreas Fault, the early warning system could provide 60 seconds of advance warning but a closer quake might only mean 5-10 seconds of lead time. Still, scientists say those critical seconds could save lives.
"But sometime this state will be dealing with something very serious...and when that happens, we'll need every tool we've got." Heaton said.
And although Los Angeles hasn't had a significant quake since Northridge, the ‘big one’ is imminent and Heaton hopes the federal budget will shake out in our favor.
Officials say, it will take another 40-million dollars to complete the system and another 16-million dollars a year to run it.
Right now, the final budget still has to work its way through congress and state and local leaders are hopeful congress will put the funding back in.
Copyright 2017 FOX 11 Los Angeles : Download our mobile app for breaking news alerts or to watch FOX 11 News | Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Be a citizen journalist for FOX 11 and get paid – download the Fresco News App today.