Update on Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act

Congressman Jim Banks
Rep. Jim Banks (R) Indiana 3rd District

In a previous blog post (which you can read here), we reported to you the progress of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act currently trying to pass through the government.  Indiana Congressman Jim Banks spoke on the House floor Tuesday in favor of the bill. According to a release from his office, “this bill would make reforms at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enhance and prioritize weather forecasts and warnings in order to protect life and property during severe weather events.”

Below is the text from his speech on the House floor:

I thank the Gentleman from Texas, Chairman Smith, for yielding me time to talk about this important legislation.

 

Unfortunately, my home state of Indiana is no stranger to severe weather.  As we enter peak tornado season, my constituents are vulnerable to tornado outbreaks, which could lead to loss of life and destruction.

 

Protecting lives and property from severe weather needs to be a top priority at NOAA.  I am glad we are addressing this issue today.

 

This legislation will greatly improve our ability to predict severe weather, like the tornadoes that affect my district, through a focused program to enhance forecasting.

 

When mere seconds make the difference between life and death, my constituents deserve the most accurate and timely forecasts available, and I am confident that this legislation will help give them that information.

 

I also am pleased that this bill gives NOAA the ability to incorporate data and forecasting skill from private sector companies like Harris Corporation in northeast Indiana, which employs about 450 engineers and technicians in my district. These talented professionals build the world’s most advanced weather satellite instruments.

 

Many government operated systems are slow and costly, and the private sector can be used to fill critical weather data needs.

 

Directing NOAA to integrate next-generation commercial solutions improves our ability to protect lives and property.

 

The time to think outside of government-only weather data is now.

 

I applaud the Chairman of the Science Committee, Mr. Smith, as well as my colleague from Oklahoma, Mr. Lucas, for bringing this important legislation to the forefront. I look forward to its passage into law.

 

I yield back the balance of my time.

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