Public Warning Language in Shipping Act Sees Major Revision

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Washington - Oct 3, 2006 - The Warning, Alert and Response Network Act (HR 5785) has made its way through the House and the Senate, but what remains of the language from HR 5785 that was added to HR 4954, the SAFE Port Act, is a shadow of the original document.

Elements of HR 5785 were rolled into HR 4954, the Security and Accountability For Every Port Act of 2006. HR 4954 includes a section (Title VI) that is now called Commercial Mobile Service Alerts. This section was previously titled Warning, Alert and Response Network Act.

Several elements that interested emergency alert groups have been dropped or modified from the SAFE Port act. One item that was eliminated was the formation of the National Alert Office and its standards-based, multi-mode National Alert System. The bill now only deals with the role that cell phones play in distributing alerts.

Wording that would have allowed the federal government to apply federal resources to restoring telecommunications, power or water has also been removed. Instead, the bill states that federal agencies must not “deny or impede access to the disaster site to an essential service provider whose access is necessary to restore and repair an essential service.”

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