BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair SB 135 (Padilla) - Early Earthquake Warning System. Amended: April 2, 2013 Policy Vote: GO 11-0; NRW 9-0 Urgency: No Mandate: No Hearing Date: May 23, 2013 Consultant: Mark McKenzie SUSPENSE FILE. AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED. Bill Summary: SB 135 would require the Office of Emergency Services (OES), in collaboration with specified state and federal entities, to establish an early earthquake warning system in California. Fiscal Impact: Initial estimated costs of approximately $80 million over five years (likely $20-$25 million in the first year, and $12-$15 million for the remaining four years) to establish a statewide early earthquake warning system (federal, local, private). This assumes an expansion of the current California Integrated Seismic Network. Initial OES staffing costs of $399,000 annually (2 Research Specialist II positions) to support the development of the system. Unknown ongoing costs to operate and maintain the system (General Fund). Background: California is the second most seismically active state in the country, behind Alaska. The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF) forecasts a 99.7% chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake in the state during the next 30 years. Some countries that experience high seismic activity have developed early earthquake warning (EEW) systems. Currently, Japan is the only country with a nationwide system, while Turkey, Mexico, Taiwan, and others have implemented local systems. Generally, these detection systems are based upon the finding that the first waves emanating from the epicenter of the earthquake, primary waves (P-waves), cause less damage but travel faster than the slower and damage-causing secondary waves (S-waves). This "single-station" approach can be used in conjunction with a "network approach" that combines signals from a regional seismic network of sensors that is capable of characterizing large and complex earthquakes as they evolve. SB 135 (Padilla) Page 1 EEW systems harness the sensor signals and provide a warning to the public and active users of the system before a shaking event. Depending on the distance from the epicenter, these systems can provide advanced warning time ranging from seconds to minutes, outside a 20-mile "blind zone" near an epicenter. This would allow for emergency shutdowns of critical infrastructure, such as trains, utilities, and industrial processes, and allow the general public to take protective action. The California Geological Survey (CGS), within the Department of Conservation, currently operates over 5,000 seismic instruments that monitor ground movement around the state through the Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (SMIP). This is the largest portion of the broader California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN), which is comprised of 1,900 monitoring sites operated in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey, Caltech, and the UC Berkeley Seismological Lab. Information from these instruments is used for research and planning purposes, and to produce "Shakemaps," which inform emergency responders where the worst shaking occurred within minutes of an earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey is currently operating a small warning system pilot program based on this instrumentation network, and a report on the program is due within the next year. Additional federal grants have recently been awarded to support the development of a local earthquake early warning system for the Los Angeles and Long Beach areas. Proposed Law: SB 135 would require the Office of Emergency Services (OES), in collaboration with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the California Geological Survey, the University of California Berkeley, the United States Geological Survey, and others, to establish an early earthquake warning system in California. Staff Comments: The SMIP, as well as the Seismic Hazard Mapping Program, is supported by residential construction fees of $10 per $100,000 of value and commercial building permit fees of $21 per $100,000 of value. These fees, which are deposited in the Strong Motion Instrumentation and Seismic Hazards Mapping Fund, have not been raised since 1990. Since the 2000-01 fiscal year, revenues from the fees have ranged from $3.5 to $8.8 million, depending on building and construction activity. Staff notes that fee revenues have not met current program costs since the SB 135 (Padilla) Page 2 2006-07 fiscal year, falling nearly $1 million short in fiscal year 2011-12, and nearly $750,000 short 2012-13. The program's current funding source would not support the expansion of staff and instrumentation required by an earthquake early warning system. As such, General Fund support would be required to develop and implement an EEW system. Staff notes that the bill lacks specificity regarding the establishment of an EEW in California, but the logical assumption would be that a robust system would be based upon the existing CGS network of seismic instrumentation. The findings and declarations of the bill include an inference that a fully developed EEW could be achieved by building upon the current CISN. The establishment of such as system would require the development of technology to provide warnings to the public, educational outreach related to the warnings, and investments in the seismic infrastructure to improve the rapid detection of earthquakes. According to CISN documents, this would entail additional sensor sites, upgraded data communications, algorithm development, new software systems, and robustness features that would be required before an EEW could be fully operational. These documents indicate that the cost of a robust, fully operational EEW-capable CISN system in California would be approximately $80 million over five years, not including costs associated with user implementation, or ongoing operations and maintenance. Department staff is unable to provide an estimate at this time due to lack of prescribed detail in the bill. OES indicates that it would require the addition of two full-time Research Specialist II positions, at an annual cost of $399,000, to support the development of the system. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS would specify features to be included in the EEW, require OES to identify funding for the system through single or multiple sources of revenue, including federal funds, revenue bonds, local funds, and private grants, and sunset the bill's provisions on January 1, 2016 if funding is not identified by that date.