NOAA, Which Has Spent Millions on Yachts, Trips and Cars, Will Cut Money for Tsunami Preparedness

NOAA could trim $4.6 million from tsunami warning system in its 2013 budget.

The White House has proposed cutting $4.6 million from the tsunami warning system operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to this story in the San Jose Mercury News.

However, NOAA said the cuts won't sacrifice public safety because the system is still in place and may just longer to fix.

The federal agency, which oversees enforcement of regulations on the Monterey Bay, has been under heavy fire nationwide for its spending practices, including a $100 million asset forfeiture fund built from fines to fisherman, boaters and surfers.

In a Dan Rather report called "Something Fishy," the journalist uncovered expenditures by the agency for boats, cars and trips to foreign countries for NOAA agents, lawyers and a judge who adjudicated their cases.

Last week Massachussetts Senator Scott Brown blasted the agency for using $300,787 for a boat used for "booze cruises" in the Pacific Northwest, according to this article in South Coast Today.com

"What does it take to get fired from NOAA?" Brown said to the Senate, as quoted in the article. He listed controversies at the agency including its shredding of documents during an investigation into the agency. Brown called it a "shredding party."

In documents the senator found through the Freedom of Information Act, there were reports that what was supposedly an undercover vessel was used for parties and by an agent to bring his family to a seaside restaurant and board a whale watching cruise.

The report of one agents use of the boat, as quoted by South Coast Today said: "(Name redacted) violated agency policy and ethical standards by operating the UC (undercover) vessel with his wife and/or friends aboard on at least three occasions in the summer of 2008, each of which involved dockside restaurant destinations during the work week."

 NOAA has not disclosed what, if any, enforcement actions were taken against the agents who used the boat for personal pleasure.

The money for the boat came from fines against fisherman, which Brown said, were sometimes levied wrongly and sometimes put them out of business.

The Gloucestor Times newspaper said the pleasure boat incident should be the end for the leaders of the government agency.

Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich also blasted NOAA enforcement during Congressional hearings for its overuse of criminal investigators.

NOAA enforcement has been in local news for fining two surfers who used jet skis to tow out to big waves $500 and raising it to $2,500 when they fought it.  The fines, which are adjudicated by an in-house judge,

NOAA also spent thousands of dollars for a helicopter a "Of Men and Mavericks" in Half Moon Bay because they were using jet skis for lifeguards to do rescues during the big wave scenes in this movie about Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity.

Star Gerald Butlerafter he was wiped out by a set of waves and hospitalized afterwards.

Scott Jarrett March 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Michael, you need to take a vacation buddy. I see you have a lot to say about nothing. Are you a professional journalist? or just wish? I think I know the answer to my own question.
Scott Jarrett March 02, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Rumor mongering? Really Michael? The facts are out there caption, pull your head out and you just might see the truth.
Scott Jarrett March 02, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Google NOAA abuse and see over 8 million "8,000,000" references. Most are from major news outlets and individual people that have been screwed by this agency.
Brad Kava March 02, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Please guys, let's keep this polite and no personal attacks over opinions....BTW. The government is sending me 390 pages of Freedom of Information documents, Michael, that will bring up some issues that are local and illegal. Not hearsay.
Michael A. Lewis March 02, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Good job, Brad!


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