GOP: Predict storms, not climate change

 

The House will vote next week on a legislation to require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus its efforts on storm predictions instead of researching climate change.

Members will consider the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, H.R. 2413, as early as Tuesday.

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Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) introduced his bill last year after tornadoes hit his home state. Those storms led him to argue on the House floor the government spends too much on climate change research and not enough on developing weather forecasting tools to predict tornadoes and other events.

His bill does not explicitly kick the government out of the business of studying climate change. But it does say NOAA must "prioritize weather-related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy, in all relevant line offices."

Last year, Bridenstine released a statement saying the intent of the bill is to "protect lives and property by shifting funds from climate change research to severe weather forecasting research."

"The bill does not increase spending but rather shifts funding to make improved severe weather forecasting a higher priority of the Federal government," he said in July.

The bill was first introduced only with the support of Republicans. But since late last year, seven Democrats have added their names as cosponsors, and aides said language was added in committee that makes it more acceptable to to Democrats.

Specifically, the bill requires NOAA to take on the protection of lives and property as one of its core missions, and to improve weather-related research. Among other things, it creates a tornado warning program and requires development of a plan to improve tornado forecasting.

"My state has seen all too many times the destructive power of tornadoes and severe weather. In the wake of the latest outbreak in May that cost 48 lives, it is painfully clear that we must do more," Bridenstine said.

— This story was updated Saturdy at 5:17 p.m.