WASHINGTON - Sen. Bill Nelson says President Trump’s pick to run NOAA has a potential conflict of interest.
Trump this week nominated AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Critics have noted that Myers has sought legislation that would limit the public dissemination of weather information so that private companies, such as AccuWeather, had more command.
“We’ve had ten hurricanes in ten weeks, I want to make absolutely sure any NOAA administrator will put the public first in delivering freely available weather forecasts,” Nelson said in a statement. “We can’t afford to have someone in this position that might be tempted to feather their own nest by privatizing the National Weather Service.”
A NOAA official under President Obama agreed.
“Barry Myers defines ‘conflict of interest,’” Ciaran Clayton, who was communications director at NOAA in the Obama administration, told the Washington Post. “He actively lobbied to privatize the National Weather Service, which works day in and day out to protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans, to benefit his own company’s bottom line.”
Will Nelson oppose the nomination?
“He has very serious concerns but it’s too early in the process to say how’ll he will eventually vote. He’ll want to meet with him and question him at his confirmation hearing before coming to a final decision,” said Bryan Gulley, communication director for the Democratic office of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation