Press Release

House Passes Bipartisan Weather Research Bill

By SpaceRef Editor
January 9, 2017
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Today the House passed H.R. H.R. 353, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, under suspension of the rules.
If enacted, H.R. 353 will improve weather research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by advancing programs and activities that will make critical investments in the nation’s observational, computing, and modeling capabilities in support of more accurate, timely, and effective weather warnings and forecasts.
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a cosponsor of the bill, said in her floor statement,
“This bill, introduced by my friend Mr. Lucas, is a product of hard work and negotiation over the past two Congresses.  In addition to Mr. Lucas, Environment Subcommittee Chairs Jim Bridenstine and Chris Stewart were great partners in this process. The language before us today is the result of a truly bipartisan and bicameral effort.
She continued, “In the Northwest Oregon communities I represent, my constituents rely on timely weather forecasts to decide when to harvest their crops, when to go to sea to fish, how to navigate the roads safely when there’s freezing rain or snow, and to prepare for possible flood conditions.
“The National Weather Service provides excellent forecasting products to support our economy, but with the increasing frequency of severe weather events, there can be and should be improvements in our forecasting capabilities and delivery.
“For example, forecasts can be more precise regarding what will happen and when. Improved forecasts can provide more lead time to allow communities to prepare, especially in severe weather events.  Forecast information should also be communicated more effectively to the public and those in harm’s way to reduce the loss of life and property.  This bill is designed to address these important goals.”
Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) said in her statement for the record, “The National Weather Service and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at NOAA play a central role in protecting the lives and property of every American.
“The bill before us today will help accelerate innovation, and turn cutting-edge weather research into essential weather forecasting tools and products; tools which forecasters can then use to protect American lives.
“The legislation removes barriers that exist between the weather research community, our nation’s forecasters, and the private-sector weather enterprise. Improving collaboration and cooperation within NOAA, and also between the agency and the broader weather community, will impact the accuracy and timing of our weather predictions. These improvements will ultimately save lives and make our communities safer.
“Strengthening our resilience to severe weather events is both vital and necessary to strengthen
our nation’s economic security.”

SpaceRef staff editor.