ISSUES NEW PARTNERSHIP POLICY
Dec. 1, 2004 ó NOAA announced today it is adopting a new policy to strengthen the partnership among government, academia and the private sector that provides the nation with high quality environmental information. "NOAA has a broad responsibility to nurture the growth of a complex and diverse environmental information enterprise and to serve the public interest by giving our nation the best environmental information services in the world," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "The main purpose of the NOAA policy issued today is to serve this broad responsibility." NOAA has specific mission responsibilities for a wide range of environmental information including weather and climate information, forecasts and warnings.
The new policy responds to recommendations contained in the National Research Council's study, "Fair Weather: Effective Partnerships in Weather and Climate Services," (National Academy Press, 2003). The NRC's study and the need for a new policy was bred from a recognition that the U.S. weather and climate enterprise—considered one of the best in the world—is composed of a dynamic partnership among government, academic and private entities engaged in complementary and sometimes overlapping activities. The study found advances in science and technology have blurred the distinctions between the sectors.
Among its chief recommendations, the NRC identified the need for a policy that would recognize advances in technology and relevant law, and that would define processes for decision making rather than defining roles.
Key provisions of the new policy:
NOAA released the proposed policy for public comment in January this year. A total of 1,473 comments were received and all were considered in developing the NOAA policy issued today. Of these, 1,190 supported the proposed policy and 176 opposed it.
"Every comment submitted, whether for or against the proposed policy, was given thoughtful consideration. These comments helped clarify the policy language and have made important contributions to its content," said James R. Mahoney, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere. "We listened to everyone's concerns. Based on these comments, we've built-in appropriate avenues to handle complaints and reviews. This new policy puts the entire environmental information enterprise on solid footing as we continue to move forward."
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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