Washington D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed three bipartisan Science, Space, and Technology Committee bills to prioritize research to improve tsunami and windstorm preparedness, as well as research on low-dose radiation.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Millions of Americans live in areas vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes and other windstorms. The effects of these disasters can be felt for years. The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act improves our understanding of windstorms and encourages the implementation of cost-effective mitigation measures.

“While there’s been a recent absence of tsunami disasters here in the U.S., the threat remains very real. The massive destruction from the 2011 tsunami in Japan is a vivid reminder of the need for enhanced early warning capabilities. The Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act strengthens our nation’s tsunami detection, forecasts and research. 

“Finally, many Americans are exposed to low doses of radiation, which include X-rays and CT scans. However, our current approach to radiation safety relies on an outdated assumption that because high doses of radiation are harmful, it necessarily follows that much lower radiation doses are also harmful. This assumption is not based on a reliable scientific foundation, prevents patients from making informed decisions about diagnostic exams and can lead to overly restrictive regulations. The Low-Dose Radiation Research Act prioritizes research to help resolve uncertainties in this area.” 

  • The National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act of 2015 (H.R. 23), introduced by Reps. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas) and Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), updates and reauthorizes the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program aimed at reducing loss of life and property from windstorms. It establishes the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the lead agency for the program, improves coordination and planning of agency activities in a fiscally responsible manner, and improves transparency for how much money is being spent on windstorm research. 
  • The Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 (H.R. 34), introduced by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), reauthorizes a program created in 2006 that strengthens coordination among coastal states and prepares at-risk communities. The bill directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to invest in research on tsunami detection.
  • The Low-Dose Radiation Research Act of 2015 (H.R. 35), introduced by Reps. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) and Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.), ensures the continuance and enhancement of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Low-Dose Radiation Research Program, which focuses on the health effects of ionizing radiation. The bill also directs the National Academies to formulate a long-term strategy to resolve the extent to which low-dose radiation may pose health risks to humans, and requires DOE to develop a five-year research plan that responds to the Academies’ recommendations.