You introduced legislation to effectively terminate the mission of the National Weather Service as a whole, reducing it to a data-mining agency for the private sector. I'm all for private-sector competition, but there is no precedent in any field to eliminate a task of the government under pressure from the private sector; it is up to the private sector to provide a service the general public desires and will pay for, improving upon what is publicly available, not to complain when they do not get their way.
As a resident of one of hardest hit hurricane states, as a avowed weather enthusiast, as an amateur meteorologist, I can tell you that this proposed legislation negatively impacts the meteorologist and forecasting fields in every imaginable way, with the only benefits realized in the private sector's checkbooks. It affects everyone, from those at the top providing the service to local television meteorologists and their forecasts to the general public looking for a simple, accurate forecast. People fail to realize how much the government provides that even the private-sector companies cannot live without; they also fail to realize how much more accurate and precise the governmental forecasts are as opposed to those from the private sector. The impacts upon the academic sector -- the group that provides the greatest benefits to hazardous weather prediction and understanding, yet alone daily weather prediction, would be huge. Entire sectors of the academic sector would cease to exist, notably those that go towards improving these forecasts. The private-sector companies rely heavily on data provided by the NWS and then charge their customers, the public, for this information that has already been paid for by the US Taxpaying public.
Your legislation is ill-conceived, poorly thought out, vague, very vague and will cost people money and even their lives. Accuweather and The Weather Channel did much more poorly than did the NWS in the record hurricane season the south-east United States experienced last year, and you would force the public to rely on companies like them, at a cost over and above we, the public, have already spent in taxes used to acquire the (often misinterpreted by the private sector companies) data.
Not everyone has (free or other) access to the Internet and cannot afford the 'premium' services provided by the private sector companies. Even if the public can afford the premiums your legislation would inflect upon it, why should the public pay taxes to support the private sector weather services? Unless, and until the private services can and do provide their own data, their own satellites, their own programs (models) that equal or exceed those used by the NWS and make the information freely available like the NWS, I submit the government should provide NO free information or data to the private sector companies and spend NO tax dollars to their benefit. We should not subsidize the private weather information companies with our taxes in any way unless we, the public receive service equal to or better than the NWS provides and for equal or less cost to the public. Read, tax elimination with the savings being returned to the public so they can pay for the commercial services.
I can't vote for you, or against you, but I can and will try to communicate my opinions and recommendations with as many of my many friends in your state that can and do vote. I hope you will reconsider your legislation.
A forecast is NOT a promise!
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