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Cuts To Tsunami Program Could Delay West Coast Wave Warnings

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Santa Cruz harbor, tsunami

People look at sunken boats from a tsunami surge in a harbor in Santa Cruz on March 11, 2011, folllowing the deadly Japan earthquake and tsunami. (Kim White/Getty Images)

HollyQuan20100908_KCBS_0017r Holly Quan
Holly was born and raised in Oakland and she graduated from San...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The White House is proposing $4.6 million in cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for tsunami programs, including a $1 million cut for the 39 high-tech buoys that transmit confirmation a tsunami is on the way.

Last March both Santa Cruz and Crescent City harbors sustained $58 million in damage from surging waves set off by the Japanese earthquake that produced a devastating tsunami.

“It’s a bad place to be cutting,” said Dr. John Orcutt, a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institute. He said it’s like turning off your smoke detector to save money.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“There’s a lot of attention at the time of these very large events, but then government attention decays quite rapidly,” Orcutt said.

The proposed budget also would cut back funding for tsunami education programs and coordination systems for west coast states.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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