How proposed cuts to National Weather Service could affect the ArkLaTex

How proposed cuts to National Weather Service could affect the ArkLaTex
Published: Feb. 22, 2018 at 4:19 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 12, 2018 at 5:54 AM CDT
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ARKLATEX (KSLA) - The Trump administration's proposed budget for the 2019 fiscal year could include a $75 million dollar cut to the National Weather Service, and more than 350 jobs lost.

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this comes after the costliest year on record for weather disasters, with economic damages exceeding $300 billion inside the United States.

The National Weather Service sits under the umbrella of the NOAA, with centers all across the country including Shreveport.

Aaron Stevens is an NWS employee at the Shreveport Center on Hollywood Avenue, which works to provide weather forecasts and data to cities and governments throughout the ArkLaTex.

Stevens spoke to KSLA News 12 as a member of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.

"It would be a significant cut because once those forecasting positions are gone, we cannot maintain 24/7 weather forecasting coverage. Which would cause a problem in our area, in our opinion," said Stevens.

Stevens says while the cuts may be proposed through the Trump administration, the actual proposal comes from the NOAA.

"The President can't write his own budget. He has to rely on the people who run these agencies to submit their list on how they want things to work."

Stevens says the biggest issue is making sure communities have the best access to weather conditions possible, especially during severe weather.

"They've cut almost everything else they can at this point. They've cut training, they've cut all of these other areas, and what they're doing now is they're actually cutting people."

KSLA News 12 has reached out to the Department of Commerce in Washington D.C. who are handling inquiries about the NOAA budget proposal.

Here is the official statement from a DOC spokesperson:

"The President’s FY19 budget request injects much-needed discipline into wasteful bureaucracy across the Federal government while ensuring that the vital mission of bureaus like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continue. NOAA’s budget prioritizes core functions such as safeguarding the capabilities and staff to produce timely and accurate weather forecasts, recapitalizing the NOAA fleet to ensure the continual collection of data vital to the U.S. economy, and supporting the government’s obligations to manage and conserve marine resources. While some tough choices were made on a number of programs in FY19, the hundreds of millions devoted to satellite programs, the NOAA fleet, and aquaculture will pay dividends for the American public well into the future."

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