Alaska Editorial: Earthquake omission for Alaska

  • Wednesday, March 9, 2016 1:05am
  • Opinion

The following editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Really? An Obama administration earthquake summit without Alaska? In the United States?

Come on.

Alaska is one of the few states that’s experienced a major earthquake. It often feels temblors of less, but noticeable, magnitude.

Ten of the largest earthquakes in the nation in the past 125 years have occurred in Alaska, according to statistics quoted by Alaska’s congressional delegation.

The delegation has taken exception to Alaska’s being omitted from the Earthquake Resilience Summit in February by the Obama administration.

The delegation’s point is punctuated by the fact a 7.1-magnitude earthquake occurred 160 miles outside Anchorage just days before the summit.

The summit focused on development of earthquake early warning systems. State Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell did note Alaska’s absence when commenting on a desire for collaboration on earthquake efforts. She specifically mentioned the University of Alaska.

Alaska’s expertise on earthquakes isn’t lacking. It has the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the State of Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys.

But, it is imperative that opportunities for further development in regard to earthquake warning systems involve Alaska. These systems have the potential to save lives. It would be more than helpful for such entities as the Alaska Marine Highway System and medical facilities, among others, to be prepared as much as possible for upcoming earthquakes.

Alaska should be represented on the National Earthquake Prediction Evaluation Council and the Scientific Earthquake Studies Advisory Committee.

That really is where Alaskans belong, given Alaska’s experience with earthquakes. Alaskans tremble to think of being left out of the discussion.

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