Cutting NOAA budget is not the right move

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As the new administration begins to try to get the country’s debt back under control, one suggested cut could be worrisome. One of the things I find commendable about the new administration is the promise to work to reduce the amount of debt accrued each year. It’s high time our country began taking more consideration of how much is spent each year.

But, one of the cuts proposed entails an 18 percent reduction to one of this country’s more important government agencies, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to the Washington Post.

In addition to the layoffs that would certainly follow, some of

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the services provided by the agency would also be cut or seriously strained. One of the more crucial services to this area is the coastal resilience program. This program ensures that the coastal regions capable of minimizing incoming storms are maintained. Without these coastal features, the effects of major hurricanes will increase as the marshes and barrier islands fall into a state of disrepair.

The proposed cuts also entail a reduction of more than $500 million to the operation and maintenance of NOAA satellites, a component in weather forecasting. Through this and other technology, we now have cellphone applications and websites that provide precise radar readings and increasingly accurate severe weather warnings. While this service is not solely operated through satellites, they help ground radar stations by providing the most accurate information possible from space. If those cuts are enacted, the advances made in the timely nature and accuracy of severe weather alerts may take a step back.

Finally, such cuts would negatively impact the available job pool in our area. NOAA has had a presence at Stennis Space Center since the 1970s, providing high paying jobs to residents in surrounding areas, including Pearl River County. Layoffs would reduce the availability of those jobs.

There’s no guarantee that these proposed cuts will take place, but if enacted, the negative effects could be far reaching.