Congress considers reauthorizing earthquake mitigation program


  • Randy Showstack


During the February 23 Congressional hearing to reauthorize the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, known as NEHRR U.S. Representative Gil Gutknecht (R-Minn.) shifted the discussion to his concern about “the next big one.”

“Normally, I'm an incurable optimist,” he said. But Gutknecht added that when he thinks about earthquakes, he wonders what the outcome, after all of the money spent on research, would be, and whether the country could be prepared, if a series of great quakes similar to those centered near New Madrid, Missouri in 1811–1812 struck the United States today. Those tremors—among the biggest on record in the 48 contiguous states—reportedly changed the course of the Mississippi River.