A valuable government service?

Senator Barbara Boxer sent this email to me today:

Dear Friend:

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is America’s earthquake science agency, charged with providing reliable information about where and when earthquakes may occur. The USGS has issued a new report that should be of interest to Californians. The report relates the prediction that California has more than a 99 percent chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years. Importantly, it also provides clues as to regions more likely to experience a major quake.

The new USGS report on California earthquake probabilities is the result of a model that comprehensively combines a variety of seismic and earth science tools. I invite you to view the summary of the report and the full report, with comprehensive maps.

News about earthquakes should give all of us a greater incentive to be prepared. If you have not created an earthquake preparedness program for your home and work, I encourage you to follow the tips provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Most Californians accept earthquakes as a part of living in our beautiful state. But knowing more about where they may occur and what to do to prepare should also be a part of living here. I hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

I scoured the email for a catch — a call to support some silly pet cause, some swipe at political opponents — and couldn’t find one. I’m dumbfounded.

2 thoughts on “A valuable government service?”

  1. I call BS.

    Plate tectonics is just a theory. Our seismological records only go back about 150 years, which is not nearly enough time to develop coherent predictions of future earthquakes. Scientists can’t even accurately predict landslides. How can they possibly assign probabilities to future events when our records only cover a tiny slice of historic geological activity?

    This is just fearmongering to prop up the seismic retrofit lobbyists and sell insurance. Scientists have been predicting “the big one” for decades, and we haven’t had it yet. In the meantime, her advice will cripple the economy as millions of people hoard vital supplies and spend trillions of dollars retrofitting their homes to guard against a perfectly natural event. Huge earthquakes have happened in the past, and humans got through them just fine. Surely a “wait and see” approach is the more sensible option.

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