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Deadly accident that killed 6 prompts Alaska Sen. Murkowski bill on landslides

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, wants to reinstate the National Landslide Preparedness Act, saying proper monitors are not in place to warn residents about possible disasters.

Published: February 10, 2024 10:33pm

(The Center Square) -

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, wants to reinstate the National Landslide Preparedness Act, saying proper monitors are not in place to warn residents about possible disasters.

Six people died in a Wrangell landslide in November 2023. Washington state has also closed roads due to possible landslides. Mudslides are causing problems for California residents, according to a news release from Murkowski's office.

Congress passed the first National Landslide Act in 2021, but it was only funded through fiscal year 2024, according to Congress.gov. The bill would reinstate the funding until 2034, according to Murkowski.

“As we mourn the loss of the Alaskans who tragically passed when a 4,000-foot-long landslide barreled into homes off of Wrangell’s Zimovia Highway, we must do everything we can to protect our communities and our people from these deadly disasters,” Murkowski said. “Too many communities in Alaska and across the nation face significant landslide hazards, but we don’t have sufficient monitors, data, baselines, or forecasting capabilities to warn residents when they are in danger."

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., is co-sponsoring the bill.

“Since we passed this bill, federal agencies have improved mapping technologies and gained a better understanding of the landslide risks facing our communities,” Cantwell said. “Now, nearly a decade since the devastating Oso landslide, and as more wildfires and atmospheric river events make landslides more likely, we must reauthorize and update these federal programs to help keep communities safe.”

The current bill created a national strategy for addressing landslides, a database of potential hazards, and a federal advisory committee.

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