From the White House:
President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Key Personnel to his Administration
If confirmed, Barry Myers of Pennsylvania will serve as Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, Department of Commerce. Mr. Myers has served as CEO of AccuWeather since 2007, and since then the company has experienced its highest grossing years, and its largest global web and mobile audience growth. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of weather information. He has given remarks at the World Meteorological Organization, World Federation of Scientists, American Meteorological Society (AMS), and many other organizations. For two decades, he served as a member of the nationally recognized Smeal College of Business. Mr. Myers is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Smeal College of Business at Penn State and received a J.D. from Boston University Law School. He and his wife Holly have five children.
I’m sure this nomination is a not good idea. Here’s why:
1. Barry Myers is a businessman and a lawyer. He has no meteorology training or science training of any kind. His brother, Dr. Joel Myers, does.
2. There will be, that I perceive, a conflict of Interest. His company, AccuWeather, makes heavy use of NOAA products. Given my personal dealings with him in the past at AccuWeather, I am concerned there will be temptation to monopolize access to this publicly available data. This is probably the only time in history I’ll ever agree with the Union of Concerned Scientists who say:
He has been a strong advocate against NOAA having the capability to provide such products directly to the public, hence the rather boring form of NOAA forecasts which is interpreted and commoditized by companies like AccuWeather and many others.
3. AccuWeather’s Meyers has tried to restrict NOAA’s dissemination of public data in the past:
AccuWeather has been active in efforts to undercut the role of NOAA. In 2005, AccuWeather, under the leadership of Myers’ brother Dr. Joel Myers, worked with Senator Rick Santorum on a bill to severely restrict the National Weather Service’s ability to provide weather forecasts to the public. The company donated to Santorum’s then Senate campaign and has been vocal about their interest in downsizing NOAA in the interest of privatizing weather forecasting.
Not a good nomination, not good at all.
Note: about 15 minutes after publication, a correction to Barry Myers name was made to remove an extra “e” in both the title and body of the text.