National Weather Service Has Concerns Over President's Budget

Wednesday, April 10th 2019, 10:28 am

By: Grant Hermes

As we head into severe weather season, some proposed budget cuts to the National Weather Service are raising concerns. Those cut have been outlined in President Trump's budget for 2020, and meteorologists here in Oklahoma have not been shy about raising the alarm. 

The response to these cuts has been a public one from scientists who usually work behind the scenes. 

These cuts would mean roughly $75 million would be cut from the NWS and it's program that many, especially in Oklahoma, rely on every day, whether they know it or not. 

Most of the programs go to studying weather patterns and forecasting, as well as trends in tornadoes, hurricanes and drought. Among these programs is the national mesonet program which would lose about $12 million. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Mesonet program said the program has "significant impact" adding it plays a fundamental role on meteorology prediction, the agricultural economy, and other weather-impacted business sectors. 

Oklahoma's senators also weighed in on the proposed cuts. 

Senator Jim Inhofe said he supports the President's overall budget to help pay for the border wall, but he would continue to advocate for programs that keep Oklahomans safe and are efficient uses of taxpayer dollars.

Senator James Lankford says he understands how important the NWS is to Oklahoma but cuts are unlikely to pass, saying, "we are still very early in the appropriation process."

The Senator is right on that point. A presidential budget has never been fully adopted by Congress, and are often subject to a lot of change, but they are a good way to know where the President's priorities are. 

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