10.22.20

Trump signs space weather bill from Gardner, Perlmutter

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a bill from U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter to improve the country’s forecasting capabilities for space weather.

“Space weather events stand to present significant economic and national security implications, with the potential to disrupt essential services, communications and technologies we rely on every day,” said Gardner.

At a House committee hearing in January, Perlmutter defined space weather as electromagnetic activity, solar eruption, solar flare and radiation that come from the sun and can have “significant societal, economic, national security and health implications.” Such phenomena can affect satellite navigation systems, communications systems and the electric grid, costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

The PROSWIFT Act instructs multiple federal agencies in their data collection efforts, establishes a space weather advisory group, and gives direction to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to continue using the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory during its useful life, while developing a backup system.

Trump, in his signing statement, indicated he had reservations about portions of the law that purportedly limited his discretion to conduct foreign policy. The president also wrote that the bill “does not address the resilience of national security assets or critical infrastructure to the effects of space weather.” He added that he hoped to work with Congress to address that issue specifically.

 

By: Michael Karlik

Colorado Politics