January 6, 2021 – Legislation to establish a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to better identify and understand landslide risks, protect communities, save lives and property, and improve emergency preparedness became law Tuesday when President Trump signed H.R. 8810, the National Landslide Preparedness Act.
Included in the new law is an authorization that codifies the USGS 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), to update and coordinate the collection of elevation data across the country using enhanced, high-resolution surveys, primarily through the collection of LiDAR. Enhanced elevation data helps communities plan for and respond to natural hazards and provides critical data to inform decision-making for public safety, national security, infrastructure, transportation, agriculture, and natural resource management. Also included is an authorization for a USGS program to collect national subsidence or land level change phenomena.
“As a leading supporter of this important legislation, we’re pleased that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, and the President, came together to pass the National Landslide Preparedness Act into law,” said John M. Palatiello, partner in Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC, parent of John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. (JMP&A). Under the leadership of John “JB” Byrd, the firm lead the group of supporting organizations for the U.S. Geological Survey’s 3D Elevation Program (3DEP) known as the 3DEP Coalition. On behalf of its clients the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization (U.S. GEO), and Geospatial Equipment & Technology Institute (GETI), combined with several members of the U.S. Geological Survey Coalition, Byrd worked for the bill’s passage.
The Senate bill was introduced and championed by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), along with Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). The original companion bill in the House was introduced by Representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA). Quotes from the leading Congressional sponsors regarding this important legislation were provided last month when the bill cleared Congress can be found here.
“The surveying, mapping, and geospatial profession already contributes greatly to 3DEP, and will have an increased role in providing data on subsidence,” said John “JB” Byrd, Vice President at JMP&A, and organizer of the 3DEP Coalition.
John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., (www.jmpa.us) a public affairs consulting firm based in the Washington, DC suburb of Fairfax, VA, provides government relations, public relations, association management, strategic planning, event planning, and management and marketing consulting services to private firms, associations, and government agencies with an emphasis on the architecture and engineering; geospatial, mapping and GIS; construction; transportation and infrastructure, and land use sectors. The firm is a subsidiary of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC (www.mwcapitol.com).