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House Republicans question NOAA chief on her agency’s priorities

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Satellite imagery shows the storm that spawned tornadoes across the Midwest earlier this month.

Jane Lubchenco, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, answered questions about the agency’s budget today in a hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment.

Lubchenco began by sending her condolences to people who lost loved ones to the tornadoes that tore across the Midwest in the past week. This year, she said, now ranks in the top five for the number of tornadoes occurring in the first two months of the year. She said making the nation “weather-ready” is a top priority in her budget request for Fiscal Year 2013, which comes to $5.1 billion, an increase of $153 million over last year’s.

Not all programs get more money in the budget request. NOAA is asking for nearly $20 million less than last year for the National Weather Service (NWS), a point with which Andy Harris, Maryland Republican and chair of the subcommittee, took issue.

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