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Tulsa World Editorial: Weather forecasting bill a winner on many levels

Tulsa World Editorial Staff

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Washington, June 1, 2015 | comments

Forecasting dangerous weather accurately can save lives. Anyone who has lived in Oklahoma more than two days knows how important it is to be alerted when severe weather is on the way.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine and Rep. Frank Lucas understand that and have pushed through the House the Lucas-Bridenstine Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act.

This is an important measure that could save lives not only in Oklahoma, but in any state that is prone to violent storms.

And it does so within the existing budget.

Bridenstine, a Navy pilot, knows well the value of state-of-the-art radar and has promoted its importance in weather forecasting that can aid the civilian population.

The bill redirects NOAA funding to put a higher priority on research and improved weather forecasting. It also would create tornado and hurricane warning programs to extend warning lead times and improved forecasts.

In addition, it establishes a $9 million pilot program for NOAA to purchase commercial space-based weather data. And without adding to the deficit, it authorizes $120 million from NOAA’s existing budget to carry out the programs.

Also, $80 million is authorized to support work at weather laboratories. That is of particular interest to Oklahoma as a good deal of that work would be done at the University of Oklahoma’s premier weather research facility.

This bill is a winner on several levels. It will improve weather forecasting, without digging the federal deficit any deeper. And, it is another example of cooperation from both Republicans and Democrats in the House to improve the lives of all Americans.

The bill now goes to the Senate. We encourage its swift approval there. Around here, you only need to look up to see the need.

Original Tulsa World Article

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