SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The White House is proposing $4.6 million in cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for tsunami programs, including a $1 million cut for the 39 high-tech buoys that transmit confirmation a tsunami is on the way.

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Last March both Santa Cruz and Crescent City harbors sustained $58 million in damage from surging waves set off by the Japanese earthquake that produced a devastating tsunami.

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“It’s a bad place to be cutting,” said Dr. John Orcutt, a professor of geophysics at the Scripps Institute. He said it’s like turning off your smoke detector to save money.

West Coast Wave Warnings Could Be Delayed With Cuts To Tsunami Program
“There’s a lot of attention at the time of these very large events, but then government attention decays quite rapidly,” Orcutt said.

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The proposed budget also would cut back funding for tsunami education programs and coordination systems for west coast states.