A panel of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved by voice vote a bill that would prioritize weather forecasting over ocean and climate research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). HR 2413 would require NOAA to prioritize research to improve forecasting of tornados, hurricanes, or other severe weather events.

Democrats on the subcommittee accused the majority of rushing the bill without allowing time for proper consideration. Some Democrats on the panel have expressed concern that the legislation aims to undermine NOAA’s research on climate change. Freshman Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) stated: “It’s become apparent to me that the pleas for balance are disingenuous, that this is really an attempt to undermine research efforts by the federal government on climate change.”

Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT), a freshman lawmaker who chairs the Environment Subcommittee, said: “It is not our intention at all to undermine climate research… We are simply trying to bring some balance and to set priorities. And we recognize that there are people in coastal areas that have great concerns with climate research, but there are millions of people living in the central and southern parts of this nation that have great interest as well in weather research.”

Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) offered several amendments that would have removed the bill’s prioritization of weather research. She withdrew the amendments on the grounds that Chairman Stewart agreed to work with her on improving the bill.

 


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