this is the Honorable Senator Sentorum's "bill memo" to the president describing his proposed legislation...despite the nuances of the language, please notice his "concern" that what NOAA/NWS is actually doing is providing "private" agencies and corporations access to data which can affect the bottom line...ie, futures trading and the like...while that may not be the overriding purpose of this legislation, this is what i'm talking about...sneaking little insiduous (though seemingly innocuous) wording into legislation...he seems more worried about certain groups/coalitions making money off the weather than the actual duties of the public or private sector...read his memo...then you be the judge:
"S3658 CONGRESSIONAL RECORD — SENATE April 14, 2005 STATEMENTS ON INTRODUCED BILLS AND JOINT RESOLUTIONS -- (Senate - April 14, 2005) By Mr. SANTORUM: S. 786. A bill to clarify the duties and responsibilities of the National Weather Service, and for other purposes; to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. President, I rise to introduce the National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005 to clarify the responsibilities of the National Weather Service (NWS) within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, NOAA. This legislation modernizes the statutory description of NWS roles in the national weather enterprise so that it reflects today's reality in which the NWS and the commercial weather industry both play important parts in providing weather products and services to the Nation. Back in 1890 when the current NWS organic statute was enacted, and all the way through World War II, the public received its weather forecasts and warnings almost exclusively from the Weather Bureau, the NWS's predecessor. In the late 1940s, a fledging weather service industry began to develop. From then until December 2004, the NWS has had policies sensitive to the importance of fostering the industry's expansion, and since 1948 has had formal policies discouraging its competition with industry. 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. This longstanding non-competition and non-duplication policy has had the effect of facilitating the growth of the industry into a billion dollar sector and of strengthening and extending the national weather enterprise, now the best in the world. Regrettably, 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 appears to signal the intention of NOAA and the NWS to expand their activities into areas that are already well served by the commercial weather industry. This detracts from NWS's core missions of maintaining a modem and effective meteorological infrastructure, collecting comprehensive observational data, and issuing warnings and forecasts of severe weather that imperils life and property. Additionally, NOAA's action threatens the continued success of the commercial weather industry. It is not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers, or investors when the government is providing similar products and services for free. This 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. I believe it is in the best interest of both the government and NWS to concentrate on this critical role and its other core missions. The beauty of a highly competent private sector is that services that are not inherently involved in public safety and security can be carried out with little or no expenditure of taxpayer dollars. At a time of tight agency budgets, the commercial weather industry's increasing capabilities offer the Federal Government the opportunity to focus its resources on the governmental functions of collecring and distributing weather data, research and development of atmospheric models and core forecasts, and on ensuring that NWS meteorologists provide the most timely and accurate warnings and forecasts of life-threatening weather. The National Weather Service Duties Act also addresses the potential misuse of insider information. Currently, NOAA and the NWS are doing little to safeguard the NWS information that could be used by opportunistic investors to gain unfair profits in the weather futures markets, in the agriculture and energy markets, and in other business segments influenced by government weather outlooks, forecasts, and warnings. No one knows who may be taking advantage of this information. In recent years there have been various examples of NWS personnel providing such information to specific TV stations and others that enable those businesses to secure an advantage over their competitors. The best way to address this problem is to require that NWS data, information, guidance, forecasts and warnings be issued in real time and simultaneously to all members of the public, the media and the commercial weather industry. This bill imposes just such a requirement, which is common to other Federal agencies. The responsibilities of the commercial weather industry as the only private sector producer of weather information, services and systems deserve this definition to ensure continued growth and investment in the private sector and to properly focus the government's activities. We have every right to expect these agencies to minimize unnecessary, competitive, and commercial-type activities, and to do the best possible job of warning the public about impending flash floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and other potentially catastrophic events. I encourage my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation."
-------------------- 2005 Forecast: 14/7/4
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