Senate committee proposes less drastic budget cuts for NOAA
Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives proposed a new budget (HR 1) for the remainder of the fiscal year that would slash funding of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by $454 million. This would mean a draconian 28% cut for the National Weather Service, the agency entrusted to protect us from natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Monday, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee released a proposed alternative to HR 1 that would make a $110 million reduction to NOAA operations for the remainder of the fiscal year. Of the $110 million cut, $104 million was from earmarks that are no longer funded. This effectively only cuts the NOAA budget by $6 million, and would allow NOAA to continue its efforts through the coming tornado, flood, and hurricane seasons to help protect lives and property without suffering from crippling budget cuts.
Now is the time to mobilize to ensure adequate funding for NOAA, and the National Weather Service Employees Organization issued these recommendations in a letter posted on their website today:
Assuming the Senate adopts this proposal, the effort goes to convincing House Leadership of the important work of the NWS and fully funding NOAA. At this important stage, we ask you to contact Congressmen John Boehner and Eric Cantor and respectfully request that they support the Senate's proposal for NOAA's budget. These congressmen hold the key to the future of the NWS.
To email or call Speaker John Boehner
To email or call Representative Eric Cantor
You can also join the Protect the National Weather Service Facebook group, which was created for this cause. Our fan count is growing rapidly but we need more. We want Congress to take notice of how much support our fans have shown. Please share this message with your friends and ask them to click "like" directly on our page. We will have more information, some cool photos and interesting tidbits to share in the coming days.
Sample letters and talking points are available below. Please feel free to use these letters and also tailor them to the particular types of weather for your geographic area. The links below provide email addresses and phone numbers to help you in this effort.
Your support of the National Weather Service is greatly appreciated. You are making the difference in helping the agency continue their mission of saving lives and property. Thank you.
Dear Mr. Speaker (for Speaker John Boehner) OR
Dear Mr. Cantor (for Rep. Eric Cantor)
I am writing to ask you to support the Senate's proposal for NOAA's budget. This proposal will help NOAA and the National Weather Service continue the mission of saving lives and property.
The Senate's proposal includes responsible funding levels in stark contrast to the draconian cuts included in HR1. HR1 would have resulted in the following impacts on the National Weather Service:
* Reduced staffing at Weather Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers would result in incomplete forecast production which could prove disastrous in a significant weather event. Even in the best of cases, it will still mean incomplete forecast production at WFOs that have major product workloads for aviation, marine, tropical and public services.
* This is going to have a negative impact on the economy and on almost every aspect of our daily lives. There will be a large scale economic impact on aviation, agriculture, and the cost shipping food and other products.
* Service backup of 24 Weather Forecasting Offices has never been tested and runs a very significant risk of a missed tornado, flood or severe weather warning. It is risking lives at the onset of both tornadoes and hurricane season. This is also doubling the area of responsibility for operations and adds the risk of degraded service delivery.
* The National Hurricane Center is not immune to these cuts as furloughs and staffing cuts will add strain to the program. The Hurricane Hunter Jet, which provides lifesaving data and helps determine a hurricane.s path, could also be eliminated.
* Information that is vital for weather modeling and accurate tornado watches and warnings will be reduced and in some cases lost. Reduced upper air observations currently made twice a day could be reduced to once every other day. Buoy and surface weather observations, the backbone of most of the weather and warning systems, may be temporarily or permanently discontinued.
Recent advances in aviation weather forecasting have resulted in as much as a 50 percent reduction in weather related flight delays. The Senate.s proposal for funding will help progressive programs such as these continue and may, in turn, prove beneficial to strengthening the economy.
For the safety of our citizens, the protection of property, and the large scale economic impact on aviation, agriculture, and commerce, I am asking you to vote in support the Senate.s proposal for NOAA's budget.
I encourage all of you to make your voices heard and help preserve funding for NOAA and the National Weather Service.
You can call or email your U.S. Senator using this link: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information /senators_cfm.cfm
You can call or email your U.S. House of Representatives member using this link: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
The National Weather Service Employees Organization web site has talking points and sample letters (printable) you can use to contact your Senators and Representative.
Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations
The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), will hold a hearing on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Climate Science and EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Whitfield have joined Democratic leaders in the U.S. House in authoring the Energy Tax Prevention Act (H.R. 910), a bill to block EPA’s controversial backdoor climate change agenda that would further drive up the price of energy for American consumers and job creators at a time when gas prices are already spiking and job creation remains weak.
The hearing is open to the public and press. Opening statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast will be available online at http://energycommerce.house.gov
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