Nomination For NOAA Administrator Moves Forward

2018-01-22T13:55:44+00:00 December 18, 2017|

What It Was

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a confirmation vote for presidential nominee Mr. Barry Myers (CEO, AccuWeather, Inc.) to serve as the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and a markup of the National Integrated Drought Information System Reauthorization Act of 2018 (S. 2200) and the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2017 (S. 1768). The nomination was confirmed along party lines (14-13), and both bills passed by voice vote.

Why It Matters

NOAA is our nation’s lead federal agency in predicting weather, providing hazard warnings, and understanding changes in our ocean. Filling the role of NOAA administrator is critical for ensuring the agency’s success.

Additionally, increased understanding of natural hazards, such as droughts (S. 2200) and earthquakes (S. 1768), will better protect the lives and well-being of Americans.

Key Points

Mr. Myers’ nomination has been controversial, primarily due to his position as the CEO of a for-profit weather company (AccuWeather, Inc.). He agreed to divest his stock, resign from AccuWeather, and embody the agency’s public service missions during his confirmation hearing last month. However, many Democrats still expressed concern during the vote. Ranking Member Bill Nelson (FL) voiced his opposition to the nomination, stating the conflict of interest was too great. Senator Dan Sullivan (AK) recounted Mr. Myers’ unequivocal response to separate financially from his company and its interests if confirmed. Chairman John Thune (SD) also added that the Office of Government Ethics had approved Mr. Myers’s ethics agreement.

The nomination was confirmed along party lines (14-13). Despite his opposition to the nomination, Ranking Member Nelson assured “…if confirmed this senator and [fellow Democrats] will work together to ensure [Mr. Myers] is successful.”

Additionally, both hazard bills, which encourage federal partnerships with the private sector and improvements to drought forecasting and earthquake warning systems through research and modeling, were approved by voice vote.

Quotable

“Mr. Myers has dedicated his entire career to the weather forecasting enterprise and will bring that same commitment to NOAA.  I am hopeful that his nomination can be considered as soon as possible by the full Senate.” – Chairman John Thune (SD)

“We need a NOAA administrator who will safeguard the critical mission of this important agency, without any conflicts of interests.”– Ranking Member Bill Nelson (FL)

Next Steps

The nomination and reauthorization bills await scheduling for the Senate floor. Senators will have an opportunity to debate the nomination before holding a vote on Mr. Myers’s appointment.

Find Out More

Watch the full hearing

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