GAO: 40 percent of federal buildings in earthquake areas

GAO: 40 percent of federal buildings in earthquake areas
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Forty percent of federally owned or leased buildings are in areas where very strong to extreme shaking from earthquakes could occur, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Thursday.

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The GAO said more needs to be done to protect federal buildings and the employees they house.

The agency said the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration are responsible for the majority of these buildings but have not fully identified which ones are at an exceptionally high risk for extreme shaking.

They also have not prioritized and implemented comprehensive seismic safety measures, the report found.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 16 states have a relatively high likelihood of experiencing damaging ground shaking in the next 50 years, and nearly half of all Americans are exposed to potentially damaging earthquakes.

The GAO recommends the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration fully identify their exceptionally high-risk buildings and come up with a plan to mitigate risks.