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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Joint Polar Satellite System

Letter

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Dear President Obama:

This year has been marred by several notable natural disasters across the United States. Though many lives and communities were lost, I am pleased with the work of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service to prepare for and respond to these events. However, our nation can better prepare for and respond to future natural disasters by fulfilling our commitment to develop and complete the next generation weather satellite system called the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). Therefore, we respectfully request the White House seek from Congress anomaly funding in the forthcoming continuing resolution for JPSS at the requested level of $1.07 billion.

JPSS is the nation's next generation weather satellite system. Its functional capabilities will far exceed legacy programs and increase our ability to predict weather patterns early and accurately. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimate JPSS will provide 3000% more data than current satellite systems. The designers of JPSS believe will provide advanced warning perhaps five days earlier than legacy weather satellites. This data will surely lead to actionable resources for FEMA to better direct their resources to areas under threat. In addition to the information JPSS will provide to emergency preparedness, it also will provide advances to our nation's agricultural industry, energy production, and transportation.

In Colorado and nationwide, The Raytheon Company, Ball Aerospace, and many other companies are developing the JSS satellites and ground segment. Nationwide, nearly 600 people are working on this essential project. These are the kinds of good-paying, stable private sector jobs which are innovative and help us build our infrastructure for long-term prosperity.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to debate a continuing resolution for FY 2012 and thus far, the White House declined to seek anomaly funding for the JPSS. We urge you to submit a supplemental anomaly request for $1.07 billion to fund this important system being developed and built in Colorado and elsewhere in the country.

Natural disasters are beyond our control, but their impact is entirely something we can mitigate. Long-term planning on flood control infrastructure, coastal hazard structures, and building codes are all wise and financially responsible undertakings. However, for short-term mitigation, the most powerful tool available is robust weather data collection. The National Weather Service is the premier meteorological agency in the world, but even it will acknowledge the need for better weather data is essential to better locating and predicting threats of all sorts.

Budgetary reductions require federal agencies to do more with less. Cuts to Wildfire Mitigation, Corps of Engineers Construction, the National Weather Service, and other programs leave our nation more susceptible to the imapct of natural disasters. Dedicating all appropriate resources toward the completion of the JPSS will allow many federal agencies to, in fact, do more with less and will pay off quickly.

The timely completion of JPSS will help ensure the safety our communities from the threat of natural disasters and do so in the most cost-effective way. Investments in JPSS will yield tremendous savings to other federal agencies and other economic costs. You have made public statements in support of this crucial program. Therefore, we hope you will request the inclusion of anomaly funding in the upcoming continuing resolution.

Sincerely,

Ed Perlmutter

Bennie Thompson


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