If You Care About Open Data, Then Il Trumpe’s NOAA Nominee Is Disturbing

This is not good for science (boldface mine):

As a top executive at AccuWeather, Barry Myers has pushed for limits on the kinds of products that the National Weather Service offers to the public, saying they offered unfair competition to his industry.

Now, President Donald Trump’s nomination of Myers to lead the weather service’s parent agency could allow him to make those kinds of restrictions mandatory — to the benefit of his family-run forecasting company.

The AccuWeather CEO’s nomination to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is stirring criticism from people who worry he would hobble the weather service, which provoked an industry backlash more than a decade ago by making hour-by-hour forecasts, cellphone alerts and other consumer-friendly data widely available online. A bill that Myers supported 12 years ago, sponsored by then-Sen. Rick Santorum, would have prohibited the agency from competing with private providers in most circumstances….

I fear that he’ll do irreparable harm to an agency whose primary mission is to save lives,” said Daniel Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, which strongly opposes Myers’ nomination. “There seems to be a huge conflict of interest considering his business background and belief system.”

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) agreed, calling Myers a “questionable” choice.

“As the CEO of AccuWeather, Barry Myers views NOAA as a direct competitor that provides high-quality forecasts for free,” Schatz said in a statement Thursday. He added that “Mr. Myers will have to work very hard to persuade me that he will run NOAA for the public good.”

…The bill made some exceptions, including information needed to protect life and property, but weather entrepreneurs, hobbyists, airline pilots and open-government advocates said it would have choked off a wealth of data that the National Weather Service had begun making widely available. The legislation would have countered a 2004 policy change by the Bush administration that had eased restrictions on the weather service’s ability to offer new products and services.

This is par for the course for Republicans: privatize a public service, and make it less accessible to the public. This is why friends don’t let friends vote Republican.

Myers has made no public comments on climate change as well. Nothing to worry about, I’m sure…

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One Response to If You Care About Open Data, Then Il Trumpe’s NOAA Nominee Is Disturbing

  1. doug says:

    Myers wants the people (US citizens) who pay for his competitor’s product to be barred from receiving that product so that his Johnny-come-lately company can get a competitive advantage and benefit financially. I don’t think that’s the kind of “transparency” people howl for from government.

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