Obama wants weather agency moved to Interior

President Obama wants to move the agency that studies the atmosphere and oceans to the Interior Department.

Under Obama’s budget request released Monday for the 2016 fiscal year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), whose responsibilities include weather forecasting and studying the climate, would move out of the Commerce Department, where it has been housed since it was created in 1970.

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The White House said the move is part of a greater effort to better focus the Commerce Department on business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Obama proposed the move “to strengthen the new department’s focus on business and economic growth,” the White House said in its proposed budget that it sent to Congress.

Putting the $3.4 billion NOAA would also result in “strengthening stewardship and conservation efforts and enhancing scientific resources,” it said.

NOAA includes subagencies like the National Weather Service; the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service; and the National Ocean Service.

When President Richard Nixon created NOAA, he wanted it to primarily serve businesses that rely on environmental data, like aviation and fishing, which justified putting it in the Commerce Department.

Obama proposed the same move in 2012 for his 2013 budget, but Congress did not act on it.