April 21, 2005

Doing something about the Weather

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is a nasty piece of work. Both sides of the political fence say this so there might actually be a germ of truth here. Here is an article dealing with Sen. Santorum's closeness with Wal-Mart. Here is a site proposing: "Dump Rick Santorum" (lots of links) And here is $antorum Watch (lots more links) Here is Santorum's own take on the bill in question:
Santorum Proposes to Modernize National Weather Service to Better Serve Public
U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today introduced the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Weather Service (NWS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

"With the support of my colleagues, we can pass this legislation to modernize the description of the National Weather Service’s roles within the national weather enterprise, so that it reflects today’s reality in which the National Weather Service and the commercial weather industry both play important parts in providing weather products and services to the nation," said Senator Santorum.

Fourteen years ago the NWS took the extra step of carefully delineating the respective roles of the NWS and the commercial weather industry, in addition to pledging its intention not to provide products or services that were or could be provided by the commercial weather industry.

However, the parent agency of the NWS, NOAA, repealed the 1991 non-competition and non-duplication policy in December 2004. Its new policy only promises to "give due consideration" to the abilities of private sector entities. The new policy has enabled NWS and NOAA to expand into areas that are already well served by the commercial weather industry.

"This decision by NOAA to repeal the non-competition and non-duplication policy detracts from NWS’s core missions of maintaining a modern and effective meteorological infrastructure, collecting comprehensive observational data, and issuing warnings and forecasts of severe weather that imperil life and property," said Senator Santorum.

Senator Santorum’s bill restores the NWS non-competition policy. However, the legislation leaves NWS with complete and unfettered freedom to carry out its critical role of preparing and issuing severe weather warnings and forecasts designed for the protection of life and property of the general public.
Seeks to Modernize? Sounds like a giant step backward to me unless... just unless... you happened to be one of the big commercial weather sites like AccuWeather. Sure you can get free weather information from AccuWeather but you have to endure lots of advertisements and pop-ups. You can get a much better set of information from the wonderful NOAA website with zero advertising or pop-ups. How do they do this? You have already paid for this data with your tax dollars. They are already funded, by you. Senator Santorum wants to take this away so that commercial weather companies can make more money. Some news stories on this can be found here and here You might want to write your local Senator and have them put a stop to this odious bit of corporate pandering. It is a bit funny because I went to Sen. Santorum's website, found the email Sen. Santorum link, filled in my disagreement with his legislation, hit the send button and this was presented for my next screen:
Thank you for expressing your views.

2005... User unknown Act... User unknown Duties... User unknown Services... User unknown Weather... User unknown of... User unknown /home/webservd/dead.letter... Saved message in /home/webservd/dead.letter
dead.letter indeed... The bill in question is called: "National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005" Posted by DaveH at April 21, 2005 9:06 PM