Senate Committee Approves Modified Space Weather Bill

Senate Committee Approves Modified Space Weather Bill

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today favorably reported a modified version of the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, S. 2817.   A revised version of the bill was presented to the committee along with two amendments.

The original bill was introduced last week and quickly scheduled for markup at today’s Executive Session. The bipartisan legislation was crafted by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), all of whom are members of the committee and its Space, Science, and Competitiveness Subcommittee.  Peters is the top Democrat on the subcommittee.

The modified version of the bill and amendments by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) were adopted without discussion. 

Most of the changes in the revised bill are of a clarifying or perfecting nature.  Perhaps the most significant is explicitly adding the FAA to the list of agencies in the National Space Weather Program (previously it said only FAA’s parent, the Department of Transportation). The revised bill also adds a section directing the FAA Administrator to assess the safety implications and vulnerability of the national airspace system to space weather events, assess methods to mitigate them, assess options for incorporating space weather into pilot training, and develop methods to increase the interaction between the aviation community and the space weather community.

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