Lucas Statement in Support of Commercial Data Amendment to H.R. 5260
Thank you, Chairwoman Johnson. My amendment would add a section to the legislation establishing a commercial space weather data pilot program at NOAA. This amendment is drawn from compromise language agreed to at the end of the 115th Congress by members of this Committee. Let me again be clear that if this amendment is adopted, I am prepared to support the underlying legislation.
During this Committee’s October hearing, we heard from former NOAA Administrator Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher the role of the commercial sector in forecasting and preparing for space weather events. He noted the commercial space industry has seen tremendous growth in the last decade and has a vested interest in investing in the collection of space weather data in order to help protect commercial space infrastructure in low Earth orbit. Further, he made clear there are companies who are prepared to step up their activities if they have a clearly defined role in obtaining space weather data.
My amendment balances the need to help ensure there is a market for a commercial space weather data with the existing roles of the federal government and the academic community. And let me reemphasize to my colleagues that this program is merely a pilot and expires after four years – so we would not permanently authorize a program with this amendment.
I want to again thank Mr. Perlmutter and his staff for their good faith efforts to reach this compromise. This is the third version of space weather legislation that has been considered since the 114th Congress. And because of their willingness to work with us and accommodate our concerns, this is the first House-introduced piece of space weather legislation to pass out of the Science Committee.
I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and upon its adoption, support the final bill.
Thank you and I yield back.