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Santorum bill would limit NWS access

May 20, 2005 at 11:36 AM

WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Opposition is building to a bill from Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., that would limit public access to National Weather Service information.

Santorum says his bill to stop the NWS from supplying non-emergency information to the public stops "mission creep" of the weather service and also helps protects commercial forecasters -- several of which are based in Pennsylvania, ABC News reported.

"I do not believe when you have dozens upon dozens of private sector companies doing this and doing it to the satisfaction of the business community that we needs to inject the government into the business," Santorum told ABC.

Opponents to Santorum's bill say limiting access to NWS data could be dangerous. Florida residents checked the NWS Web site some 9 billion times last year when the state was being hit by four hurricanes and small-craft pilots use the service as a matter of course, ABC said.

They also say since the NWS is funded with tax dollars, the information the service produces should be publicly available.

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