Democratic News

May 18 2016

Cantwell Statement on the 36th Anniversary of the Eruption of Mount St. Helens

Cantwell Renews Push to Establish Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System

Read more on the National Early Warning Monitoring System Act here. 

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) acknowledged the 36th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens and renewed her push to establish a national volcano early warning and monitoring system.

As Washingtonians remember the devastating impact of the Mount St. Helens eruption, we are also reminded of how important it is to establish and maintain up-to-date early warning and monitoring systems of our nation’s volcanoes, including the five ‘high’ to ‘very high’ threat volcanoes in the state of Washington,” Sen. Cantwell said.

In 2015, Sen. Cantwell introduced S. 2056, the National Early Warning Monitoring System Act (S. 2056), with Sen. Murkowski. The bill would create an early warning program for high-risk volcanoes and would improve coordination among agencies to help protect lives and property. The National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System would monitor, warn and protect citizens from undue and avoidable harm from volcanic activity. The bill would unify the monitoring systems of volcano observatories into a single connected system and create a National Volcano Watch Office operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The state of Washington has five volcanoes considered “high” or “very high” risk: Glacier Peak, Mount Adams, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. Many of these high-risk volcanoes lack sufficient monitoring equipment for detecting volcanic activity, which is needed to provide early warning to local communities. Both Mount Baker and Glacier Peak, “very high” threat volcanoes, each have only one seismometer of the five needed.

Read more on the National Early Warning Monitoring System Act here.