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Re:       Review of the Emergency Alert System, Notice of 
     Proposed Rulemaking (August 4, 2004)

     The importance of our ability to quickly and 
effectively inform the public of an emergency cannot be 
understated.  Whether the issue is a terrorist attack or 
impending weather disaster, our success in this endeavor can 
mean the difference between life and death.  Currently, we 
rely almost exclusively on the Emergency Alert System to 
disseminate warnings to the public.  EAS therefore serves a 
critical purpose, yet it applies only to analog broadcast 
and cable television and its use is, in many instances, 
merely voluntary.  We need either to update this system or 
to replace it with a more comprehensive and effective 
digital warning mechanism. 
     I strongly support initiation of this rulemaking to 
determine the best solution to ensure that all Americans can 
receive emergency information.  I am pleased at the 
coordination that has taken place to date with the 
Department of Homeland Security and the Department of 
Commerce, and I look forward to working with these partners 
as well as our colleagues at the state and local level to 
develop the best system to protect the American people.