I received the following response from Florida Senator Bill Nelson in response to the letter that I filed through the website at:
https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?JS ... lay&id=123
"Dear Mr. Iossi:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the National Weather Service.
The weather information provided on its website is invaluable and should
not be limited.
The National Weather service is a branch of the National
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It is the primary
source of weather data, forecasts, and warnings to the United States, and
provides information to television broadcasters and private meteorology
companies to prepare their forecasts. During the hurricane season of 2004, when Florida was being battered by Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, the National Weather Service provided valuable information throughits website to the people of Florida to help them prepare for the disaster. During these hurricanes, The National Weather Service website received billions of hits, breaking a government record previously held by NASA sites after the Mars rover landing last spring.
Legislation has been introduced that would limit the ability of the
National Weather Service to offer its information to the general public.
S. 786, the National Weather Service Duties Act, introduced on April 14,
2005, would, among other things, prevent the National Weather Service from providing weather forecasts (with the exception of severe weather warnings) to the public on its website if a private company also is capable providing this information.
I oppose the National Weather Service Duties Act because it has a
variety of negative effects. This legislation would force consumers to get
on-line weather information from commercial websites that are cluttered
with pop-up ads and invasive solicitations, even though the consumer has
already paid for the taxpayer-funded National Weather Service. It would
prevent any National Weather Service forecaster from doing a one-on-one interview with a news reporter, and could even prevent the National Weather Service from providing any service on-line that is provided by a private vendor. I have written a letter to President Bush asking that he publicly oppose this attempt to push the weather service back to its pre-Internet era and limit the public's right to access government information.
I appreciate your informed policy suggestions. Please do not
hesitate to contact me again in the future."