Los Angeles Earthquake:

Opinions of Officials on Federal Impediments to Rebuilding

RCED-94-193: Published: Jun 17, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 1994.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed federal laws, unfunded mandates, and regulatory requirements that hinder state and local authorities from expeditiously rebuilding the areas in Southern California devastated by the January 17, 1994 earthquake.

GAO found that: (1) state and local officials are encouraged by recent policy and regulatory changes made by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and believe that the changes could improve the agency's assistance efforts; (2) state officials believe that the process for appealing FEMA decisions is inappropriate because there is no review by an outside arbitrator; (3) some federal officials believe that many of the issues characterized by state and local officials as barriers are just disagreements over how far the federal government should go toward paying for disaster recovery; (4) federal officials have taken some steps to facilitate recovery by waiving requirements within their jurisdictions; and (5) state and local officials are primarily concerned that the tremendous demand on state and local resources during disaster recovery is magnified by the need to comply with unfunded mandates.

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