WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Tuesday hailed  the passage of legislation in the Senate and House to renew a highly effective, cost-saving grants program designed to help prevent disaster-related damage before it happens.

The Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program provides grants to state and local governments to mitigate the risk of hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.  The program has broad support among state and local emergency leaders.

“This has been and will continue to be a valuable program because it saves taxpayers $3 for every $1 spent, an advantage that cannot be overlooked in this time of tight budgets,” said Lieberman.  “The evidence is clear that when communities and individuals are prepared for disasters and take measures to lessen potential impacts, they bounce back more readily thanks to their built-in resiliency.  The PDM program is a proven way to save lives, prevent damage, and reduce post-disaster costs.  I am proud Congress passed legislation that everyone can agree on, and I look forward to having the President sign it quickly.”

Collins said: “I am pleased that the Predisaster Hazard Mitigation Act has passed the Senate and the House. I look forward to the President signing this legislation soon. “As the name implies, our bill would help state, local and tribal governments plan for future disasters.  The Predisaster Hazard Mitigation grant program helps reduce injuries, loss of life and property damage and destruction and has saved taxpayers significant sums on disaster recovery assistance.  Our bill would extend this important program and help ensure that all grant funds are spent competitively based on needs identified by FEMA and state and local planners and not earmarked.  This planning assistance would help our local communities recognize hazards and determine priorities for risk reduction.”

A 2007 Congressional Budget Office report found that the predisaster hazard mitigation program reduced losses by roughly $3 (measured in 2007 dollars) for each dollar invested in mitigation efforts.  A 2005 report by the Multihazard Mitigation Council showed substantial benefits and cost savings, too.  Looking at a range of hazard mitigation programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the study found that, on average, $1 invested in mitigation provided roughly $4 in benefits. The report estimated that the mitigation grants awarded between 1993 and 2003 saved more than 220 lives and prevented nearly 4,700 injuries over approximately 50 years.