(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced comprehensive legislation to continue to strengthen and advance the U.S. weather system.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) delivers critical services to millions of Americans across the country each and every day. The Weather Act Reauthorization ensures NOAA’s work is modern, reliable, and at the forefront of accurate and timely weather modeling and forecasting.
This legislation builds off the successful implementation of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, passed through the Science Committee and signed into law in 2017. It not only reauthorizes the critical research programs currently operating at NOAA, but also establishes new programs to advance forecasting, expands commercial data partnerships, strengthens emergency preparedness, and advances tools for farmers, ranchers, and resource managers. This bill includes provisions from 12 different standalone bills and touches on the interests of 34 Republican and Democrat Members who cosponsored those bills.
“Accurate and reliable weather forecasting is crucial for American communities nationwide,” Chairman Lucas said. “And this bill invests in the research, resources, and innovative tools NOAA needs to continue to expand its incredible capabilities and provide the best forecasting in the world. From bolstering our commercial partnerships to improving subseasonal forecasting, this Reauthorization ensures our weather enterprise continues to thrive and is a dependable resource when critical weather events strike. I want to thank Ranking Member Lofgren, our Committee Members, and national stakeholders for working to deliver an impactful piece of legislation. This is another crucial step in protecting lives and property across the country.”
“Each year, severe weather and climate disasters driven in part by the climate crisis cause catastrophic damage and loss of life across the United States,” Ranking Member Lofgren said. “NOAA is at the forefront of protecting lives and property from disaster before, during, and after these events. Now more than ever it’s critical we ensure NOAA has the support it needs to effectively carry out their efforts, from forecasting to cutting edge research and development. I’m proud to join in introducing today’s Weather Act Reauthorization Act of 2023 and commit to strengthening NOAA. This introduction is a key step in bolstering our nation’s ability to understand and respond to weather and climate disasters. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues as we fine tune this legislation to maximize NOAA’s ability to keep Americans safe.”
Highlights of the Weather Act Reauthorization include:
- Improves severe weather forecasting by modernizing the critical research programs authorized by the 2017 Weather Act, including tornado warning capabilities and hurricane forecasting capacity.
- Supports cutting-edge forecasting by establishing new research and development programs related to the next generation of radar, atmospheric rivers, coastal flooding & storm surges, aviation weather, and more.
- Increases NOAA’s access to critical forecasting data by expanding its authority to contract with the private sector to acquire commercial weather data and codifying the Commercial Data Program to lead this work.
- Strengthens emergency preparedness by improving the communication of weather and water events to the public from critical warnings to emergency information.
- Provides farmers and ranchers better tools and services for agriculture and water management, including improvements to subseasonal to seasonal research and forecasting.
- Authorizes the continuation of key public tools including the National Integrated Drought Information System, the National Mesonet Program, and the National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network.
The list of cosponsors follows:
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Max Miller (R-OH)
Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX)
Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN)
Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA)
Rep. Stephanie Bice (R-OK)
Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA)
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN)
Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY)
Rep. Rich McCormick (R-GA)
Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Tom Kean (R-NJ)
Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA)