National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Placement in U.S. Government and its Implications
Keywords:environmental policy, environment, government, national oceanic and atmospheric administration
Government placement of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a marine and weather research agency, under the Department of Commerce (DOC) has long been a source of debate. Many argue that NOAA belongs under the Department of the Interior (DOI), an environmental executive department, rather than the DOC. Here, we attempt to describe the political and scientific implications of NOAA’s placement. We start by outlining the roles of US executive departments and agencies in environmental policy. A review of NOAA’s history and its placement in the DOC shows past political impact on the agency, as NOAA’s mission shifts when a new administration takes office. The possible implications of moving NOAA into the DOI is analyzed as compared to the movement of the US Fish and Wildlife Service from the US Department of Agriculture to the DOI. Despite known issues with NOAA’s placement in the DOC, placement in the DOI brings up issues that show the pros of NOAA being under the DOC. Political and industrial influence on NOAA under the DOC is further examined in an effort to identify a better placement for NOAA.
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