‘Trump’s Project 2025’ Calls for Eliminating National Weather Service?

Claim:

Online posts correctly asserted that what they referred to as “Trump’s Project 2025” proposes eliminating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS).

On July 7, 2024, a claim spread on social media that “Trump’s Project 2025” would eliminate two major federal agencies concerned with weather and climate research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service (NWS).

“It’s a good time to remind everyone in [Hurricane] Beryl’s path that Trump’s Project 2025 eliminates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the National Weather Service. You would be on your own with a magic 8-Ball and an Ouija Board,” one viral post on the topic read, garnering over 644,200 views, 11,000 comments, and 28,000 likes, as of this writing. 

(X user @CooknColorado)

The topic was also discussed on other social media platforms such as Reddit and Facebook

Project 2025, a policy initiative proposed by the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation with the participation of many of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s allies, does contain a document that calls for breaking up and downsizing NOAA, as well as fully commercializing the NWS’ forecasting operations. 

However, Trump has publicly stated he disagrees with some of Project 2025’s recommendations and distanced himself from the initiative. “I know nothing about Project 2025,” Trump wrote in a July 5 Truth Social post. “I have no idea who is behind it. I disagree with some of the things they’re saying and some of the things they’re saying are absolutely ridiculous and abysmal. Anything they do, I wish them luck, but I have nothing to do with them.”

Based on these considerations, we have rated this claim as a “Mixture” of true and false information. 

The document that details Project 2025 supporters’ proposals for federal departments titled “Mandate for Leadership 2025: The Conservative Promise,” states that the next conservative president should consider whether “The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should be dismantled and many of its functions eliminated, sent to other agencies, privatized, or placed under the control of states and territories.” It also calls for breaking up and downsizing NOAA, which, according to Project 2025 proponents, “has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity.” You can read the in-question part of the document below (emphasis ours):

NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION

Break Up NOAA. The single biggest Department of Commerce agency outside of decennial census years is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which houses the National Weather Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and other components. NOAA garners $6.5 billion of the department’s $12 billion annual operational budget and accounts for more than half of the department’s personnel in non-decadal Census years (2021 figures). NOAA consists of six main offices:

  • The National Weather Service (NWS);
  • The National Ocean Service (NOS);
  • The Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR);
  • The National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS);
  • The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS); and
  • The Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and NOAA Corps.

Together, these form a colossal operation that has become one of the main drivers of the climate change alarm industry and, as such, is harmful to future U.S. prosperity. This industry’s mission emphasis on prediction and management seems designed around the fatal conceit of planning for the unplannable. That is not to say NOAA is useless, but its current organization corrupts its useful functions. It should be broken up and downsized.

The document adds, “NOAA today boasts that it is a provider of environmental information services, a provider of environmental stewardship services, and a leader in applied scientific research. Each of these functions could be provided commercially, likely at lower cost and higher quality.” The document also calls for focusing the NWS on commercial operations. “Because private companies rely on these data, the NWS should fully commercialize its forecasting operations,” stating that studies have found that the forecasts and warnings provided by private companies are more reliable than those provided by NWS:

Each day, Americans rely on weather forecasts and warnings provided by local radio stations and colleges that are produced not by the NWS, but by private companies such as AccuWeather. Studies have found that the forecasts and warnings provided by the private companies are more reliable than those provided by the NWS.

The NWS provides data the private companies use and should focus on its data-gathering services. Because private companies rely on these data, the NWS should fully commercialize its forecasting operations.

NOAA does not currently utilize commercial partnerships as some other agencies do.

Commercialization of weather technologies should be prioritized to ensure that taxpayer dollars are invested in the most cost-efficient technologies for high quality research and weather data. Investing in different sizes of commercial partners will increase competition while ensuring that the government solutions provided by each contract is personalized to the needs of NOAA’s weather programs.

The NWS should be a candidate to become a Performance-Based Organization to better enforce organizational focus on core functions such as efficient delivery of accurate, timely, and unbiased data to the public and to the private sector. 

In the footnote to the above paragraph claiming that NWS should be a candidate to become a “Performance-Based Organization,” the document explained that “in general, performance-based organizations are established to set forth clear measures of performance, hold the head of the organization accountable for achieving results, and grant the head of the organization authority to deviate from government rules if needed to achieve agreed-upon results.”

Moreover, in another paragraph, the document stated that “scientific agencies like NOAA are vulnerable to obstructionism of an Administration’s aims if political appointees are not wholly in sync with Administration policy. Particular attention must be paid to appointments in this area.”

For several months, we received a flood of reader inquiries asking if Project 2025 was a real effort to “reshape America.” Discover our findings on Project 2025 in our recent in-depth article.

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