It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Supporters say the bill wouldn't hamper the weather service or the National Hurricane Center from alerting the public to hazards — in fact, it exempts forecasts meant to protect "life and property."
But critics say the bill's wording is so vague they can't tell exactly what it would ban.
"I believe I've paid for that data once. ... I don't want to have to pay for it again," said Scott Bradner, a technical consultant at Harvard University.
He says that as he reads the bill, a vast amount of federal weather data would be forced offline.
"The National Weather Service Web site would have to go away," Bradner said. "What would be permitted under this bill is not clear — it doesn't say. Even including hurricanes."
Nelson questions intention
The decision of what information to remove would be up to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez — possibly followed, in the event of legal challenges, by a federal judge.
A spokesman for Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said the bill threatens to push the weather service back to a "pre-Internet era" — a questionable move in light of the four hurricanes that struck the state last year. Nelson serves on the Senate Commerce Committee, which has been assigned to consider the bill.
"The weather service proved so instrumental and popular and helpful in the wake of the hurricanes. How can you make an argument that we should pull it off the Net now?" said Nelson's spokesman, Dan McLaughlin. "What are you going to do, charge hurricane victims to go online, or give them a pop-up ad?"
But Barry Myers, AccuWeather's executive vice president, said the bill would improve public safety by making the weather service devote its efforts to hurricanes, tsunamis and other dangers, rather than duplicating products already available from the private sector.
"The National Weather Service has not focused on what its core mission should be, which is protecting other people's lives and property," said Myers, whose company is based in State College, Pa. Instead, he said, "It spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year, every day, producing forecasts of 'warm and sunny.'"
Santorum made similar arguments April 14 when introducing his bill. He also said expanded federal services threaten the livelihoods of private weather companies.
"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," Santorum said.
Originally posted by djohnsto77
The NWS must be showing that hell has frozen over since I completely agree with you RANT.
There's no reason to limit the distribution of weather reports from government sources. If you want to discuss whether we need government weather forecasting, that's another issue, but since the public is paying for it now, the public should have access to it.
Originally posted by dbates
I think I'm going to call my represenatives on this one. It doesn't make any sense at all. Someone has got to be pocketing money on this deal..
Two days before Sen. Rick Santorum introduced a bill that critics say would restrict the National Weather Service, his political action committee received a $2,000 donation from the chief executive of AccuWeather Inc., a leading provider of weather data.
The disclosure has renewed criticism of the measure, which Santorum, R-Pa., maintains would allow the weather service to better focus on its core mission of getting threatening weather info out in a "timely and speedy basis."
Opponents say the bill would endanger the public by preventing the dissemination of certain weather data, and force taxpayers to pay for the data twice. The bill would prevent the weather service from competing for certain services offered by the private sector.
AccuWeather, based in State College, Pa., provides weather data to a variety of outlets, including media organizations such as The Associated Press.
"I think the timing of it is what makes it so suspect," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government, a Democratic-leaning watchdog group. "It's like here's the money and you're going to do what I want."
Originally posted by DigitalGrl
The Weather channel in fact has been a Godsend to weather forecasting because ....