State Legislature Takes Up Earthquake Studies, Funding

Jan. 13, 2016: State will begin to install earthquake monitors in the spring (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

March 11, 2015:

House Bill 2932

While earthquakes are relatively new to Irving, they are not new to the state of Texas. Understanding that earthquakes are a state issue, City of Irving representatives traveled to Austin and met with Irving’s legislative delegation as well as the governor’s office. At the request of the City of Irving, State Rep. Rafael Anchia has filed a bill on our behalf identifying the University of Texas at Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) as the organization to study earthquakes and land shifting in Texas. HB 2932 also requires the BEG to:

  • Focus on any known series of earthquakes and new or developing fault lines.
  • Identify potential causes of seismic activity, natural and man-made.
  • Identify necessary equipment for the study.
  • Provide hazard assessments in coordination with the Division of Emergency Management and local officials.
  • Report of this and any other relevant information once every even-numbered year to the governor, legislative committees with jurisdiction over finance, public safety and urban affairs and any other committees or agencies deemed relevant to the discussion.

Read the entire bill.

HB 2932 is expected to be heard in committee by late April.

Funding $2.5 million

City of Irving also is supporting the allocation of $2.5 million for TexNet, a statewide system to study seismic activity. The proposal currently is included in the House version of the budget bill (HB 1) as part of the University of Texas at Austin appropriation and is designated for the 106-year-old Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) for equipment, including 22 permanent monitors across the state and 36 temporary monitors that could be deployed in sets of 12 as activity warrants.

The allocation is not contained in the Senate version at this time.

City lobbyists are committed to getting this funding included in the final state budget after the house-Senate budget conference in May.