President Trump's budget proposal would cut federal funding for an earthquake early warning system for California, Oregon and Washington state, a development that seismology experts and some local leaders say would be the end of the project.
The system being developed in conjunction with various universities is intended to provide critical seconds of warning when an earthquake has started and potentially dangerous shaking is imminent, allowing time for people to take cover and to slow or halt such things as critical industrial processes and transportation systems.
A version of the ShakeAlert system has been undergoing testing but still needs to have more seismic sensors installed in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. The proposed funding cuts for the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1 would come from the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the U.S. Interior Department.
Veteran seismologist Lucy Jones, who recently retired from the U.S. Geological Survey after years of providing earthquake information to the public, said she was deeply disappointed.
"Eliminating the $10 million (per) year that the government has been spending would stop the program and waste the $23 million that has already been invested," she said in a statement. "The talented scientists and technicians that are working on the project now will go to other jobs, so their experience and expertise would be lost."