SEATTLE – A 34-year old Washington State law banning any preparation for nuclear attack could be overturned within the next few weeks, according to one of the sponsors of the bill.
Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) Federal Way told KIRO-7 Saturday’s false alarm in Hawaii — where text messages were sent by the state, falsely warning of a missile attack — should convince lawmakers that a plan and a warning system should be a matter of urgency which should not be constrained by state law.
In 1984, the Legislature’s vote was a symbolic way of putting Cold War-era nuclear disaster preparation in the rear-view mirror. The language that became law was a direct rebuke to the old fears of a Soviet threat to the U.S. — which lawmakers figured — was over.
The law states emergency planning for natural disasters shall “not include preparation for emergency evacuation or relocation of residents in anticipation of nuclear attack.”
In the 1950s and 60s most parts of Washington State had a clear plan and places to shelter — even bunkers built inside of Seattle bridges in case of nuclear disaster.
A shelter in North Seattle under the southbound lanes of I-5 on the Ravenna bridge — which is now used by WSDOT for storage — was a state of the art prototype for the country in the early 1960s with a capacity of 200, outfitted with decontamination showers lined with layers of concrete.
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