SCHUMER REVEALS: IN MIDST OF HURRICANE SEASON --WITH MORE STORMS BREWING IN ATLANTIC-- WHITE HOUSE HAS PROPOSED DRASTIC 20% CUT TO FED AGENCY THAT TRACKS HURRICANES & MONSTER STORMS; CUTS COULD CRIPPLE DATA GATHERING; SENATOR PUSHES BI-PARTISAN PLAN TO STOP CUTS BEFORE THEY IMPEDE FORECASTING FOR NY & OTHERS
Hurricane Florence, Pounding The Carolinas Right Now, Is Not Alone; Also Spinning In The Atlantic Are Helene, Isaac & Joyce; But Fed Agency Overseeing Hurricane Season Could See Torrent Of Cuts
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin (NOAA) Slated For About 20% ($1 Billion) Cut, Jeopardizing National Weather Service & Other Data Gathering Work That Can Save Lives; Senator Makes Bi-Partisan Push To Keep Fed Forecasting Operational
Schumer: We Need High Pressure On Congress To Prevent Drastic Cuts That Could Seriously Jeopardize Hurricane & U.S. Weather Monitoring
As Florence continues to pound the Carolinas and three other storms churn in the Atlantic, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is revealing that the White House has proposed a drastic 20% cut ($1 Billion) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that could cripple the federal government’s ability to gather critical weather data that translates into the forecasts we all rely upon when hurricanes, tropical storms and other major weather events occur.
“A storm is brewing at the federal level when it comes to our ability to robustly track the paths of severe weather events and deliver early warning forecasts to the public,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “That is why we need to put high pressure on Congress to stop the unwise cuts proposed by the Administration that could impact everything from our weather forecasters to our critical data gathering and modeling methods that scientists use to perfect predicting and in turn save lives on the ground when an erratic storm begins its churn."
Under the Administration’s proposed plan for NOAA, the agency would see a 23 percent slash to its overall budget. FY2018 funding for NOAA was allocated at $5.9 billion. The proposal Schumer is working to stop attempts a $1.36 billion dollar cut, leaving the agency with $4.6 billion.
Schumer’s plan to prevent these cuts rests on his ability to negotiate a bi-partisan spending Bill by the end of this month, also known as a Continuing Resolution, which he hopes can fund NOAA at levels experts would say allow it to perform its critical work. Schumer says this agreement must be bi-partisan if it is to pass and noted high hopes for getting this done.
“Tracking dangerous storms and ensuring the federal government has the tools, the satellites, and the manpower necessary to forecast wild weather should not be a political undertaking, and so I am hopeful I can work with colleagues to stop the Administration’s cuts to NOAA via the upcoming spending Bill that we should pass by the end of the month,” Schumer noted.
Schumer further slammed NOAA cuts by citing some particularly egregious ones within the larger cut.
One of the largest cuts within NOAA includes a massive cut to critical NOAA research. The NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research would be cut from $510.6 million to $321.6 million—a 37% cut on its own. This NOAA office “provides environmental research and technology needed to improve NOAA weather forecasts, climate predictions, and marine services.” To accomplish these goals, the funds also support a “network of scientists in Federal research laboratories, universities, and joint institutes and partnership programs.”
Another cut would take aim at the National Weather Service. Under the Administration’s plan, the Weather Service would see an 8% cut, which Schumer says should be a non-starter for Congress in the middle of hurricane season. This proposal would cut 248 weather forecasting positions and delay investment in upgraded weather radar. The NWS operations budget (not including construction) in FY18 was $1.014 billion. The President’s proposed budget would cut it to $935.1 million—a cut of $78.9 million, or 7.78 percent.
Schumer said, collectively, these dollars allocated within NOAA help build the foundation for the federal government’s forecasting, storm tracking and weather management. Moreover, these dollars support the federal government’s weather and atmospheric modeling that improve weather forecasts, climate prediction and marine services. Ultimately, NOAA and these dollars save lives.
NOAA is the federal government’s scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce. The mission of NOAA is “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, and to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.” NOAA is the federal entity responsible for weather satellites, storm tracking and scientific modeling.
The Atlantic Ocean currently has four named storms churning, a largely unprecedented occurrence, that Schumer says should help propel bi-partisan cooperation to stop unwise and ominous cuts to NOAA and its operations. Hurricane season ends November 1st.
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