Senators want to spend tax dollars to control the weather

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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If Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall have their way, rain will go away come again some other day of their choosing.

Both Hutchison and Udall have introduced unsuccessful bills in the past that would have created national boards to oversee and fund research into weather modification. That is, artificially changing or controlling the weather.

“I … am very supportive of and concerned about weather prediction and modification,” Hutchison said at an appropriations hearing in 2011. “And I think we need to know more basic science, and we also need to — to use that to determine if we should or should not engage in weather modification.”

A Hutchison spokesman this week reiterated the senator’s support for efforts to alter weather patterns.

“Senator Hutchison has been a consistent supporter of scientific research in a number of areas,” Hutchison press secretary Dean Pagani wrote The Daily Caller News Foundation in an email. “Weather research can help us understand and better predict weather patterns that can impact public safety.”

In 2004 and 2005, Hutchison introduced a bill that sought to establish “a comprehensive and coordinated national weather modification policy and a national cooperative federal and state program of weather modification research and development.”

“While we may not be able to stop Mother Nature entirely, we can sometimes alter her course, changing the weather in small, yet significant ways,” Hutchison said on the Senate floor in 2004.

The bill never became law, in part because of efforts by the George W. Bush administration, which rained on Hutchison’s parade.

In June 2005, Sen. Udall, then in the House of Representatives, introduced a companion in the House and called for appropriations of $10 million annually over a ten-year period.

In 2007 and 2009, Hutchison introduced additional bills in another failed effort to fund weather modification, though she began referring to the practice as “weather mitigation.”

The 2009 bill called for $25 million in annual funding between 2010 and 2014, but a Congressional Budget Office estimate from 2009 showed the bill would have actually increased discretionary spending by $88 million during that five-year period.

Then-Rep. Udall again introduced a companion bill in the House in 2007, which called for appropriations of $10 million annually over 10 years.

A representative from Udall’s office declined to comment on whether the senator still favors allocating federal funding to weather modification research.

“She [Hutchison] has not actively sought specific funding for weather modification research during this Congress,” Pagani said of his boss.

Controlling or tampering with the weather has been banned by the United Nations since 1978.

Also, weaponizing the weather has been on the minds of lawmakers since at least the early 1970s. Congressional hearings were held on the issue and President Richard Nixon held discussions with the Soviets on how to overcome the dangers of weaponizing the weather and environment.

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