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Lack Of Data On State Spending For Natural Disasters Could Be Costly

U.S. Air Force

A new report from The PEW Charitable Trusts said most states aren’t tracking how much they spend overall to deal with natural disasters.  

2017 was a rough year for the U.S. when it came to natural disasters - from record-breaking wildfires to historic hurricanes. But according to Anne Stauffer with PEW many states that dealt with a natural disaster didn’t know their total bill.  

"You can't manage what you don't track, which is why we’re recommending that states track this data and understand their spending," said Stauffer.

The amount of money the federal government puts aside for natural disasters often depends on how much states say they've had to spend.

Because of that, Stauffer said states need to tally up all their costs from mitigation to preparedness to responding to the actual event and its aftermath.

"We've heard from many states that it's often not just one quote-unquote disaster," said Stauffer. "There are floods that follow wildfires. There are other events that follow floods."

The report recommends that both state and federal policymakers make collecting comprehensive data a priority.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 Wyoming Public Radio. To see more, visit .

Maggie Mullen is a fifth generation Wyomingite, born and raised in Casper. She is currently a Masters candidate in American Studies and will defend her thesis on female body hair in contemporary American culture this May. Before graduate school, she earned her BA in English and French from the University of Wyoming. Maggie enjoys writing, cooking, her bicycle, swimming in rivers and lakes, and most any dog.
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