Trump nominates AccuWeather CEO to run NOAA

Trump nominates AccuWeather CEO to run NOAA
© Getty Images

President Trump has chosen Barry Myers, the CEO of the private weather forecaster AccuWeather, to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

In that role, Myers, who has served as the chief executive of AccuWeather since 2007, would head the agency charged with executing a broad portfolio of responsibilities ranging from providing severe storm warnings to managing the nation's fisheries.

If confirmed by the Senate, the nomination would install a business executive at an agency more recently headed by scientists. Former President Obama's last NOAA administrator Kathryn Sullivan, for example, was a geologist and former astronaut.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ray Ban, the co-chair of the weather industry advocacy group the Weather Coalition, praised Myers'  success in growing AccuWeather's business, and said he would bring that expertise to the Trump administration.

“[I]n an administration that places high value on business acumen, Barry brings a strong track record in growing one of the most successful companies in the weather industry,” Ban told The Washington Post.

Some environmental groups, like Ocean Conservancy, said that Myers would be charged with making decisions in the public interest, "not just the private interests of a company’s bottom-line."

“If confirmed, it will be Myers’ duty to champion all facets of NOAA from the deep sea to outer space," Ocean Conservancy CEO Janis Searles Jones said in a statement. "Myers has had nearly forty years in the private weather industry but the stakes at NOAA are different."

In the past, AccuWeather has supported measures to curb the ability of the National Weather Service (NWS) to release forecast information to the public. Private companies, like AccuWeather, use much of the data provided by the NWS for their own products. 

In 2005, then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) introduced legislation that critics said would limit the NWS’s ability to disseminate weather information after receiving a donation from Myers and his brother Joel.

AccuWeather also owns the domain for NationalWeatherService.org, which routes visitors to AccuWeather’s own website. The National Weather Service’s official website is weather.gov.

"President Trump has responded to NOAA’s remarkable work forecasting what has been a record-breaking hurricane season by nominating an administrator who has a history of trying to block the agency from issuing weather forecasts to the American public," Michael Conathan, the director of ocean policy at the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress, said in a statement.

"Unlike 11 of the 12 previous NOAA administrators, Myers lacks an advanced scientific degree, further indicating this administration’s disregard for the role of science in policymaking," he added.