The House of Representatives has approved a bill supporting a coordinated national program to help reduce property damage and deaths from major windstorms including hurricanes and tornadoes.
The legislation authorizes funds of $67.5 million over three years to better coordinate federal wind hazard research and reduction efforts. The program would create a National Windstorm Hazard Reduction Program coordinated by the Office of Science and technology Policy. Four federal agencies would use existing funds to run the program.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, and Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kansas sponsored the bill, H.R. 3980, the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2004.
Supporters hope it will lead to advances in construction and building codes that will make residential and commercial buildings less vulnerable to high winds.
The measure passed 387-26. Twenty-five Republicans and one Democrat, Rep. Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania, voted against the bill. The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass.
The measure has the backing of the Wind Hazard Reduction Coalition, (www.windhazards.org), a group that includes the National Fire Protection Association, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Code Council and other engineering and safety organizations.
According to the coalition, the federal government now spends $5 million on wind hazard reduction efforts, a sum it said is “woefully inadequate” for a problem that cost more than $25 billion in federal disaster aid in the 1990s.
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