Action

Call your Senators to ask them to oppose the confirmation of Barry Myers as head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and if possible to hold a full Senate hearing on his lack of qualifications and conflicts of interest.

California Senator Contact Info

  • Senator Dianne Feinstein: (415) 393-0707, (310) 914-7300, (202) 224-3841, or email.
  • Senator Kamala Harris: (415) 355-9041, (213) 894-5000, (202) 224-3553, or email.

Suggested Script

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP].

I am calling to urge you to vote against the confirmation of Barry Myers for head administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and, if possible, push for a full hearing in the Senate on his qualifications. Mr. Myers has a history of lobbying to reduce research programs of the National Weather Service (NWS) and to prohibit the NWS from providing free weather data to the public, all in order to benefit his for-profit forecasting company AccuWeather. Mr. Myers has no scientific credentials, has tried to dismantle the agency he would be head of, ran a company with a top to bottom culture of sexual harassment, and is clearly unfit to run this highly respected scientific agency that is so important to the well-being of all Americans. Please VOTE NO on Barry Myers!

Thank you for your time and attention.

[If leaving a voicemail, leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]

Background

NOAA is an important agency in the fight against climate change. They maintain a fleet of satellites, collect long-term weather data, and most importantly, share all their temperature and weather data with scientists and the public for free. They also are the agency that oversees marine fisheries, prepares nautical charts, protects marine mammals, helps states manage coastal areas, and provides warnings of tsunamis and hurricanes. Included within NOAA are the National Weather Service (NWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). NOAA is a respected and important government agency that does a wide range of basic and applied scientific research to better understand our oceans and atmosphere, from deep sea exploration to space weather. Data collected by NOAA is used in the U.S. and around the world, including maintaining the long-term datasets that no one else has the ability or mandate to collect.

Trump’s nominee to oversee NOAA is Barry Myers, former CEO of AccuWeather, a private forecasting company, which uses NWS data, reprocess and re-packages it, and sells it to the public. Like so many Trump appointees, Myers has a direct conflict of interest with the agency he is supposed to lead. His company spent millions of dollars lobbying (unsuccessfully) to limit NOAA’s research efforts and public access to NOAA data and to privatize many of NOAAs public functions to the direct benefit of his company. Senator Maria Cantell (D-WA), ranking member on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has stated that Myers “has been steadfastly and publicly committed to dismantling the agency he was supposed to lead”.

Although Myers has nominally sold his shares in his private, family-owned company, his divestment is all too reminiscent of Trump’s own “divestment” of his family business – i.e., it will continue to be run by his family, and he will be able to buy back his stock at a reduced price once leaving the agency. He has also refused to recuse himself from any NOAA dealings related to his family company.

If this were not enough to disqualify him, his company AccuWeather has also been investigated by the Department of Labor for systematic sexual harassment, of which he was aware and took no action. He lied about the severity of the investigation during his first hearings in Congress when his name was proposed in 2017. The confirmation was not approved due to the outstanding issues with conflict of interest, but he was re-nominated by the White House in January of 2019.

As a New York Times editorial of May 1st by a former NOAA administrator says: “As a non-scientist, Mr. Myers lacks the professional credentials to lead a science-centric agency responsible for daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, climate monitoring, fisheries management, coastal restoration and support for marine commerce…he is unfit to lead the nation’s premier weather and ocean sciences agency.”

The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee voted to confirm Myers on a straight party line vote in late April. It is not clear when his confirmation will be brought to the full Senate for a vote, but since the Senate is attempting to push this through without a further hearing, it is important to act now to let our Senators know we want to see a full open hearing and a NO vote on this clearly unqualified candidate.