Federal Involvement in the Mount St. Helens Disaster: Past Expenditures and Future Needs

RCED-83-16 Published: Nov 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 1982.
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Highlights

GAO reviewed problems related to the Mount St. Helens disaster and attempted to determine whether the experience could be useful to the government in dealing with future disasters.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
Congress should direct that the statutory appropriations language clearly spell out the intended use of the disaster relief funds, the length of time the funds are to be committed or their intended use, and the disposition of any unused funds.
Closed – Not Implemented
Implementation of the recommendation depends upon the occurrence of a major, unusual, or long term disaster. Consequently, no action is expected at this time.
Congress should designate a lead agency such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate the use of and, if necessary, the sharing of specific major disaster funds among the Federal agencies.
Closed – Not Implemented
Implementation of the recommendation depends upon the occurrence of a major, unusual, or long term disaster. Consequently, no action is expected at this time.
Congress should approve funds only for emergency or other immediately needed maintenance work for dredging and flood control related to the Mount St. Helens disaster, until the Corps of Engineers provides more reliable information on its long-range needs for Mount St. Helens recovery.
Closed – Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Army The Secretary of the Army should direct the Chief of Engineers to use more realistic assumptions relating to the probability of failure of the highway and railroad bridges over the Toutle River, and to the potential economic losses to the region if the bridges do fail, in making the Presidentially directed study of the long-term impacts and future funding needs for Mount St. Helens recovery.
Closed – Implemented
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

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