"A single large earthquake, however, can cause far more damage than the average annual estimate. The 1994 Northridge (CA) earthquake caused as much as $26 billion (in 2005 dollars) in damage and was one of the costliest natural disasters to strike the United States. One study of the damage caused by a hypothetical magnitude 7.8 earthquake along the San Andreas Fault in southern California projected as many as 1,800 fatalities and more than $200 billion in economic losses. An issue for the 112th Congress is whether existing federally supported programs aimed at reducing U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes are an adequate response to the earthquake hazard. Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), four federal agencies have responsibility for long-term earthquake risk reduction: the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). [...] Legislation was introduced during the 111th Congress (H.R. 3820) that would have made changes to the program and would have authorized appropriations totaling $906 million over five years for NEHRP. Ninety percent of the funding would have been designated for the USGS and NSF, and the remainder for FEMA and NIST. The bill passed the House but not the Senate. Similar legislation will likely be introduced in the 112th Congress."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33861