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S. 517 (109th): Weather Modification Research and Development Policy Authorization Act of 2005

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

12/8/2005--Reported to Senate amended. Weather Modification Research and Development Policy Authorization Act of 2005 - (Sec. 4) Directs the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to establish a Weather Modification Subcommittee to coordinate a national research program on weather modification. Requires the Subcommittee to include representatives from: (1) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); (2) the National Science Foundation (NSF); and (3) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Provides for a representative from NOAA and a representative from NSF to serve together as co-chairs of such Subcommittee.

Requires the Director to develop and submit a plan for coordinated federal activities under the program, which shall: (1) for a ten-year period, establish the goals and priorities for federal research that most effectively advances scientific understanding of weather modification; (2) describe specific activities required to achieve such goals and priorities, including funding of competitive research grants, training and support for scientists, and participation in international research efforts; (3) identify and address, as appropriate, relevant programs and activities of the federal agencies and departments that would contribute to the program; (4) consider and use, as appropriate, reports and studies conducted by federal agencies and departments, and other expert scientific bodies, including the National Research Council report on Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research; (5) make recommendations for the coordination of program activities with weather modification activities of other national and international organizations; (6) incorporate recommendations from the Weather Modification Research Advisory Board; and (7) estimate federal funding for research activities to be conducted under the program.

Specifies activities related to weather modification that may be included under the program, including: (1) interdisciplinary research and coordination of research and activities to improve understanding of processes relating to weather modification, including cloud modeling, cloud seeding, improving forecast and decision-making technologies, related severe weather research, and potential adverse affects of weather modification; (2) development, through partnerships among federal agencies, states, and academic institutions, of new technologies and approaches for weather modification; and (3) scholarships and educational opportunities that encourage an interdisciplinary approach to weather modification.

Requires the Director to prepare and submit to the President and Congress annual reports on the activities conducted pursuant to this Act respecting the Weather Modification Subcommittee, including: (1) a summary of the achievements of federal weather modification research; (2) an analysis of the progress made toward achieving the goals and objectives of the plan; (3) a copy or summary of the plan and any changes made to it; (4) a summary of agency budgets for weather modification activities; (5) any recommendations regarding additional action or legislation that may be required to assist in achieving the purposes of this Act; (6) a description of the relationship between research conducted on weather modification and research conducted pursuant to the Global Change Research Act of 1990, as well as research on weather forecasting and prediction; and (7) a description of any potential adverse consequences on life, property, or water resource availability from weather modification efforts, and any suggested means of mitigating or reducing such consequences if such efforts are undertaken.

(Sec. 5) Establishes in the Office of Science and Technology Policy the Weather Modification Research Advisory Board to: (1) make recommendations to the Weather Modification Subcommittee on matters related to weather modification; and (2) advise such Subcommittee on the research and development, studies, and investigations with respect to potential uses of technologies and observation systems for weather modification research and assessments and evaluations of the efficacy of weather modification, both purposeful, (including cloud-seeding operations) and inadvertent (including downwind effects and anthropogenic effects).

(Sec. 6) Instructs U.S. departments and agencies and any other public or private agencies and institutions that receive research funds from the United States related to weather modification to give full support and cooperation to the Weather Modification Subcommittee.