Earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced his pick to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Barry Myers.
Myers, currently the CEO of AccuWeather, has spent nearly forty years in the private weather industry, but the stakes at NOAA are different. As the head of an agency committed to “science, service and stewardship,” he will have a different set of responsibilities—the responsibility to serve the public interest, not just the private interests of a company’s bottom-line.
NOAA’s responsibilities are diverse and absolutely crucial to a functioning country. From tsunami and hurricane warnings to marine mammal strandings and rescue, from fisheries management to the daily weather forecasts you check on your phone—NOAA plays a critical role in the lives of Americans from the coast to the heartland.
So the question remains: Who is Barry Myers?
- Myers earned his law degree from Boston University, and is a long-time Board member of the private weather industry’s trade association.
- He became the CEO of AccuWeather in September 2007. With no science education or expertise, Myers focused on developing the company’s business relationships and initiatives.
- Myers has clashed with NOAA in the past. He has advocated against allowing NOAA to provide weather data directly to the public. In fact, his private company, AccuWeather, repackages free data from NOAA and delivers it directly to the public. For this reason, concerns over potential conflicts of interest have been raised.
- Myers has not yet publicly stated his position on climate change.
The future of our nation’s coastal and marine resources and our ability to accurately predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts depends on NOAA’s continued success under the leadership of Myers or any other Administrator—informed by the best available science and needs of the American people and our coastal communities.