In summary

The Trump administration’s proposed spending plan would ax funding for a region-spanning earthquake early warning system that is in the process of being rolled out along the West Coast.

President Trump has promised to shake things up with his administration’s program-slashing budget proposal—and that could leave California vulnerable when the next big earthquake hits.

The Trump administration’s spending plan would ax funding for a region-spanning earthquake early warning system that is in the process of being rolled out along the West Coast.

“If that funding went away, we would have to lay off a number of the developers, and the development would basically cease,” Tom Heaton, a Caltech professor who works on the project, told the Los Angeles Times.

The president’s proposed budget aims to cut funding to the entire Department of Interior by $1.4 billion, or 10.9 percent. Eliminating ShakeAlert would save $8.2 million.

The program uses strategically located seismological sensors to estimate the magnitude of earthquakes in real time, allowing alerts to be sent to rail systems, hospitals and even smartphone users.

The proposed cut comes as some experts warn that California could be overdue for a major earthquake. A recent federal study found that a section of the San Andreas fault north of Los Angeles tends to rupture every 100 years. The last major quake occurred in 1857.

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Ben Christopher

Ben covers California politics and elections. Prior to that, he was a contributing writer for CalMatters reporting on the state's economy and budget. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has written...