Denenberg & mariners slam
proposed legislation which seeks to limit public access
to National Weather Service data
January 18, 2006
Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick)
was joined today at the Wantagh Marina in Wantagh by members of the
Long Island boating community and the U.S. Coast Guard to express opposition
to proposed legislation in Washington that seeks to limit the information
that is made available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS). The bill, called the
National Weather Service Duties Act of 2005, is sponsored by Senator
Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The bill would ban the NWS and NOAA from "competing" with
private entities by restricting their ability to communicate with the
Pictured from left to right are Richard H. Teuten, Post Commodore
of the Wantagh Bay Yacht Club; Florence A. Teuten of the Wantagh
Bay Yacht Club; Angela Paul, Commodore of the Wantagh Bay Yacht Club;
Joseph Paul of the Wantagh Bay Yacht Club; Edwin Beyer of the Wantagh
Bay Yacht Club; and Captain Hal Gold
"Both of these agencies are funded by our taxpayers and the information they provide should therefore be publicly accessible," said
Legislator Denenberg, who contacted both New York State
senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer to
urge them to oppose the bill.
This bill would make it unlawful for the NWS and
NOAA to publish "user-friendly" weather data on its website because
it might draw people away from the offerings of companies like Accuweather.
This would allow private companies to profit at the expense of the
taxpayers, and restrict access to a vital public service.
"Commercial and private fishermen, commercial and recreational boat captains, coastal communities and numerous others rely on the critical information provided by these two agencies," said Denenberg. "The
free and unrestricted access to this information could literally mean
the difference between life and death for those people living near
the coast and utilizing our harbors, bays and ocean.
Captain Hal M Gold, who carries a USCG Masters
License, a Private Pilot's License, and is also an active member in
the US Coast Guard Auxiliary for the past 23 years stated that "on Long Island alone we have thousands of boaters, pilots, and many others that will be adversely affected by this new law, should it pass. I check with the NWS every time I consider getting the boat under way or flying an airplane. As a commercial Towing and Salvage Captain for a national waterborne towing company for the past 14 years, the NOAA services are critical to my safe departure and eventual return to port each time I get underway. The loss of this service would prove extremely detrimental to the recreational and commercial maritime community," said
"The passage of this bill would be detrimental to the boating community," said Angela Paul, Commodore of the Wantagh Bay Yacht Club. "Boaters
depend on the NWS and NOAA forecasts to ensure the safety of their lives
and lives of their families before heading out with their boats and securing
their boats in case of impending small craft advisories, gale warnings,
storms and hurricanes. We oppose the restrictions that this bill implies,"
"Certainly, the weather-related catastrophes of this past year show how exposed oceanfront communities are to hurricanes and other natural disasters," said Denenberg. "Critical
information regarding weather forecasts should never be restricted."
For more information about this proposed bill,
contact Legislator Denenberg's office at 516-571-6219.