POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 12, 2011
WASHINGTON » A spending plan being pushed by Republicans would slash funding for the agency that warned Hawaii and the West Coast about the devastating tsunami in Japan.
The plan, approved last month by the GOP-controlled House, would trigger an estimated $126 million in cuts for the National Weather Service, the agency that runs the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. A union representing workers at the center said the proposed cuts - part of $454 million in cuts for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - could result in furloughs and rolling closures of Weather Service offices. If so, that could affect the center's ability to issue warnings, said Barry Hirshorn, Pacific region chairman of the National Weather Service Employees Organization.
"This disaster displays the need to keep the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center fully funded and operational," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.