Disaster Mitigation Assistance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Provisions [May 5, 2000] [open pdf - 132KB]
"The Administration initiative to shift federal emergency management policy away from a 'response and recovery' emphasis has generated little congressional controversy, although some have raised concerns about the cost effectiveness of implementing a mitigation strategy. Greater attention, it is generally argued, should be given to mitigation (loss reduction) efforts before disasters occur in order to reduce future losses. Legislation (H.R. 707, S. 1691) pending before the 106th Congress would amend the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) which authorizes federal assistance when the President declares that a catastrophe has overwhelmed state and local resources. Some future disasters may be prevented, or their impact lessened, by taking action beforehand. State and local governments have lowered disaster costs by retrofitting buildings in earthquake zones, elevating structures in floodplains, revising and enforcing building codes, or modifying land use plans. Advocates of the legislation seek to support these and other mitigation efforts. H.R. 707 and S. 1691 would amend the Stafford Act to shift federal policy toward predisaster hazard mitigation. Both bills contain three titles, share an overall intent, and contain roughly similar provisions. Title I of each bill stresses the need to prepare for disasters and to take mitigative steps, and includes new authority for predisaster hazard mitigation grants. Title II of each bill would amend Stafford Act provisions concerning administrative reimbursement and facility repair and replacement authority. Also, private nonprofit organizations would need to apply for Small Business Administration loans before applying for Stafford Act assistance to repair or replace damaged facilities. Title III in both bills consists of miscellaneous changes."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30543
National Council for Science and the Environment: http://ncseonline.org/