NOAA’s proposed move raises questions about its role

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a slogan that captures its odd position in the federal hierarchy: “NOAA may be the most important agency you’ve never heard of.”

That contradiction was on full display earlier this month, when President Obama announced a reorganization plan for the Commerce Department. Some agencies were to join Commerce. But NOAA, which received only a brief mention, was to move to the Interior Department.

So the agency in charge of tracking everything from the weather to fish in the sea is slated to switch over to the nation’s premier public lands department, prompting a question: Is that the right move?

Andrew Rosenberg, who served as deputy director of NOAA’s fisheries division under President Bill Clinton, said the biggest question is not where the agency ends up but whether people start giving NOAA its due.

“I really worry in these discussions that people aren’t really thinking about, ‘What does NOAA do for us?’ ” said Rosenberg, now Conservation International’s chief scientist. “Would it be disaster to put it in Interior? If it’s done right, no. If it’s done badly? Of course.”

NOAA’s proposed move raises questions about its role – Washington Post

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