April 29, 2005

Santorum’s Weather Push [7:56 am]

I got an EFF Action Alert this morning — regarding S.786: National Weather Services Duties Act of 2005. The key bit is the effort to undo what was a great decision by the National Weather Service - making government collected data openly available to anyone who wants to make use of it. Instead, this bill insists that the NWS only release data to enable services that the private sector won’t generate - a “shoulda, coulda” requirement that essentially means release nothing:

SEC. 2. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION AND NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE.

  1. NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE- To protect life and property, the Secretary of Commerce shall, through the National Weather Service, be responsible for the following:

    1. The preparation and issuance of severe weather forecasts and warnings designed for the protection of life and property of the general public.

    2. The preparation and issuance of hydrometeorological guidance and core forecast information.

    3. The collection and exchange of meteorological, hydrological, climatic, and oceanographic data and information.

    4. The provision of reports, forecasts, warnings, and other advice to the Secretary of Transportation and other persons pursuant to section 44720 of title 49, United States Code.

    5. Such other duties and responsibilities as the Secretary shall specify.

  2. COMPETITION WITH PRIVATE SECTOR- The Secretary of Commerce shall not provide, or assist other entities in providing, a product or service (other than a product or service described in subsection (a)(1)) that is or could be provided by the private sector unless–

    1. the Secretary determines that the private sector is unwilling or unable to provide such product or service; or

    2. the United States Government is obligated to provide such product or service under international aviation agreements to provide meteorological services and exchange meteorological information.

Voice your opposition to this innovation-blocking bill.

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