Independent NOAA considered



A proposal to pull the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) out of the Department of Commerce and make it an independent agency was the subject of a recent congressional hearing. Supporters within the science community and in Congress said that an independent NOAA will benefit by being more visible and by not being tied to a cabinet-level department whose main concerns lie elsewhere. The proposal's critics, however, cautioned that making NOAA independent could make it even more vulnerable to the budget axe and would sever the agency's direct access to the President.

The separation of NOAA from Commerce was contained in a June 1 proposal by President Ronald Reagan that also called for all federal trade functions under the Department of Commerce to be reorganized into a new Department of International Trade and Industry (DITI).