Saturday, January 14, 2012
Moving NOAA to Interior Dept.
President Obama's proposal to move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from the Commerce Dept. to the Interior Dept. may have a tough road. AAAS's Science Insider blog says "there is broad agreement that the plan will face serious opposition in Congress."
NOAA houses the National Weather Service, the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS), the National Ocean Service, among other programs.
Science Insider also offered an explanation of why NOAA is in Commerce instead of Interior to begin with: "President Richard Nixon was furious when his interior secretary, the politically volatile Wally took aim at the Administration's Viet Nam War policy. So Nixon punished him by not making the newly created NOAA part of the Interior Department, which already housed the U.S. Geological Survey."
Long time readers of this blog may recall that I reported back in 2008 that the Obama Transition Team was considering merging NOAA with the USGS in Interior.
Earlier in 2008, a group of prominent scientists made the case for combining USGS and NOAA into an Earth Systems Science Agency, in an influential article in Science.