WASHINGTON –Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday hailed Senate passage of legislation to renew a highly effective, competitive grant program to help prevent disaster-related damage before it happens.

            The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) reauthorization bill provides grants to state and local governments for projects to mitigate the risk of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.  The program has been widely praised by state and local emergency managers.

            “The benefits of working to alleviate damage before it happens cannot be disputed,” Lieberman said. “If communities are prepared for disasters and have taken measures to lessen the impact, those communities will survive disasters with greater resiliency. This program is a tried and true way to save lives, prevent damage, and reduce post-disaster costs.  I am proud my Senate colleagues have passed this legislation and hope we can work with our counterparts in the House to send a bill to the President’s desk quickly.”

            Collins said: “The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program saves the government money, plain and simple. Two separate studies prove the cost savings to the federal government for mitigation projects.  One of them, by the Congressional Budget Office, estimated that for every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation activities, the government saved three taxpayer dollars. That is an enormous return on investment. Our bill would allow states to implement diverse and forward-looking strategies to mitigate potential disaster damage before it happens. Some of these projects may then become models for other states to follow.”

            The bill codifies the PDM program as a competitive grant program to ensure funds are spent wisely.  Without the reauthorization, the program would expire.

            In 2008, HSGAC reported out a PDM reauthorization bill for Fiscal Year 2011. Although the measure never passed the full Senate, funding was extended for 2009 and 2010 through the annual Department of Homeland Security appropriations process.

            In 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that future losses are reduced by about $3 for each $1 spent on the program. CBO also found that PDM-funded projects could lower the need for federal post-disaster assistance, meaning the PDM investment would save taxpayers money.

            The House passed similar legislation in April 2009.