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House GOP Still Says Accurate Weather Forecasting and Hurricane Tracking are Luxuries America Can’t Afford

Latest CR Would Cut Even Deeper into Critical Satellite Observation Programs

Satellite SOURCE: AP Photo/NASA Critical weather monitoring satellites saw an even deeper cut in the most recent three-week continuing resolution to fund the government, jeopardizing our ability to monitor hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.

Last month, CAP and Climate Progress reported on House Republicans’ shortsighted attempt to obliterate funding for new environmental monitoring satellites—the sole source of some data for weather and climate forecasters.

On Tuesday, in its latest three-week extension of government spending, the GOP, apparently not content with the depth of its evisceration, upped the ante by voting to cut an additional $115 million from NOAA’s Acquisition account.

As we wrote in February after the initial cuts passed the House:

At least an 18-month gap in coverage will be unavoidable without adequate funding for new polar-orbiting satellites this year. More troubling, taking an acquisition program offline and then restarting the process at a later date would lead to cost increases of as much as three to five times the amount the government would have to spend for the same product today.

So here’s the choice: Spend $700 million this year for continuous service or $2 billion to $3.5 billion at some point in the future for the same equipment and a guaranteed service interruption.

The tragic events in Japan serve as the most recent reminder that betting against Mother Nature is a losing proposition, yet House Republicans seem intent on insisting they can protect Americans without adequate information. They know the hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are coming. Apparently we simply can’t afford to know when.

Michael Conathan is the Director of Oceans Policy at the Center for American Progress. This is cross-posted at Climate Progress.

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