Proposed NOAA move to Interior facing opposition

President Obama thinks it makes most sense for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admistration (NOAA) to reside in the Department of Interior. Count the National Weather Service Employees Union (NWSEO) and the National Resourcse Defense Council (NRDC) amoung groups who want NOAA to stay put in the Department of Commerce.

Ed O’Keefe, in the Post’s Federal Eye blog, summarizes the NWSEO position:

“Whomever is advising the president on this issue is ignorant of the mission and history of the National Weather Service,” said Richard Hirn, general counsel and legislative director of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, representing 4,000 NOAA workers responsible for compiling weather data.

Hirn said Obama’s reorganization plans go against the original intent of the weather service, which Franklin D. Roosevelt moved from the Agriculture Department to the Commerce Department in recognition of the burgeoning aviation industry and the need to provide accurate, timely weather forecasts.

The environmental non-profit the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also opposes the proposed move. David Goldston, NRDC’s government affairs director, worries NOAA will lose its independence if it’s housed in DOI:

If NOAA and Interior disagree now, it’s a dispute between two cabinet departments that has to get elevated to the White House to get worked out by third parties. If NOAA is a division of Interior, the Interior Secretary can just shut NOAA up.

We’ll post more reactions (both positive and negative) to the proposed move as they stream in....

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.

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