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Congressman Darren Soto

Representing the 9th District of Florida

Rep. Soto Sends Letter to NOAA Requesting Hurricane Hunter Aircraft

September 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Darren Soto sent a letter to Mr. Benjamin Friedman, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), addressing concerns that NOAA has not yet acquired backup Hurricane Hunter aircrafts after Congress approved a provision requiring so earlier this year.

“It is troubling to be mid-hurricane season without an adequate NOAA backup aircraft capability in place, especially on the eve of Hurricane Irma’s projected landfall on the east coast of the United States,” Rep. Soto wrote in the letter.

Section 413 of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Soto along with Senator Bill Nelson and signed by President Trump earlier this year, requires NOAA to purchase a back-up set of hurricane hunter airplanes.

“Four months after the passage of Public Law No: 115-25, with the eyes of the country, especially the eastern seaboard, focusing on the forecasts and data produces by NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft, it is crucial that NOAA immediately acquire and maintain a reliable backup set of aircraft.”

The letter further explains that the provision for the law was included last year as a preventive approach after dealing with the unexpected consequences of Hurricane Hermine, during which NOAA’s only Gulfstream was grounded for emergency repair.

Rep. Soto concluded the letter by commending the work of the Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere office and urging NOAA to do all that they can to comply with Section 413 and acquire the new planes.

Click here to read the full letter.