GOP Rep. Scott Perry votes against improving the detection of hurricanes and tornadoes - TAI News
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Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., speaks during a rally for Dave McCormick, Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, at Beerded Goat Brewery in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Scott Perry was one of 19 members of the U.S. House who voted against modernizing the country’s weather forecasting system in order to better detect deadly hurricanes and tornadoes.

Perry voted against the Weather Act Reauthorization Act of 2023, which, according to an executive summary posted by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, would provide for the modernization of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s “uncrewed vehicles, high performance computing, and satellite observation systems” in order to better predict severe weather events and improve communication with the public about hazardous weather events in order to reduce the loss of life and property. 

“I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to invest in our country’s weather system,” committee Chair Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), the sponsor of the bill, said in a news release issued on April 30. “The tornadoes that occurred over the weekend serve as a reminder of the need for early and accurate forecasting of severe weather. And it’s not only in emergencies but also in our daily routines, from deciding what to wear in the morning to efficiently planning when to plant crops.”

Severe storms are on the rise in the United States.

In 2023, the country experienced 28 separate weather and climate disasters that resulted in 492 deaths and cost at least $1 billion each for cleanup and repairs, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information said in a report published on Jan. 8. The events included wildfires, tornadoes, severe flooding, a hurricane and hailstorms. 

More than a dozen tornadoes touched down in Pennsylvania in 2023, according to NOAA data published by the York Daily Record.

It’s unclear why Perry voted against the legislation, which was introduced by a GOP lawmaker and passed by a vote of 394-19. All votes against the measure came from Republicans. 

However, Perry is a climate change denier who rejects the scientific community’s consensus that humans are its main cause. He has a 0% rating from the League of Conservation Voters, which works to elect members of Congress who support addressing climate change; Perry has voted against numerous bills and amendments that seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions, conserve public lands, and protect clean drinking water and air quality. Climate monitoring and study is part of NOAA’s stated mission.

Perry’s office did not return a request for comment on the reasoning for his vote.

A similar bill, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, passed the House in 2017 by voice vote, meaning no members objected. The bill went on to pass the Senate by unanimous consent, again without objections, and was then signed by President Donald Trump.

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