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Rep. Lauren Boebert Fights Bureaucracy to Support the San Luis Valley Radar System

May 24, 2021

Today, Representative Lauren Boebert stood up for the San Luis Valley by sending a letter to the Director of the National Weather Service urging the timely approval of a dedicated data portal and requesting an explanation for the delay in integrating the new San Luis Valley Radar’s data into the National Weather Service’s national system.

Congressman Boebert stated: “A coalition of community organizations and Colorado agencies came together to raise $1.8 million and build the San Luis Valley Radar in order to improve weather data to predict high mountain storms. Unfortunately, bureaucratic delays have prevented this important information from being utilized for over a year. The people in the San Luis Valley deserve to have accurate storm forecasting that will improve local economies and potentially save lives.”

Colorado State Senator Cleve Simpson stated: “Given the historical lack of abundant, accurate meteorological information here in the San Luis Valley, literally a black hole on radar screens, it was such a great pleasure to work with a variety of stakeholders to come together with a plan and the funding to make such a significant upgrade in our circumstances.  I can’t overemphasize the value this project and the data it produces can have on our community, northern New Mexico, southern Colorado and the entire state.  Let’s make sure the entities that can and should be utilizing the system are taking full advantage of it.”

Alamosa County Chairman of the Board Michael Yohn stated: “The radar has been operational for over a year.  We welcome the day when our community and all our visitors will benefit from the full integration of the radar system with the rest of the state and nation for accurate radar forecasting.”

Conejos Water Conservancy District General Manager Nathan Coombs stated: “The  San Luis Valley Radar is essential to the advancement of rural living conditions in Colorado. Improved accuracy of the high mountain storm conditions is essential for safe travel both by air and land. The local entities saw this need, and through grass roots organization, raised the money and built it. It is a shame if it is not utilized to its full potential.”

San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District Manager Heather Dutton stated: “The  San Luis Valley Radar was built by a diverse coalition of community organizations and State of Colorado agencies who recognized the urgent need for radar data to inform travel management, emergency response, and water supply forecasting. Because the communities of the San Luis Valley are subject to fast moving and extreme weather events, the utilization of the radar data would allow for more complete weather forecasts and greater protection of life and property.”

Background:

Community organizations and local governments in Colorado partnered to raise $1.8 million to build the San Luis Valley Radar system in order to improve weather data for the entire region. It has been constructed and fully operational for over a year, but bureaucratic red tape is preventing the data from being integrated into the National Weather Service’s system.

This radar system will provide crucial data that will help combat drought by improving water management, assisting farmers and ranchers, improving emergency response, and protecting life and property, so it is critical that this information be integrated into the National Weather Service system without further delay.

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.

Dear Director Uccellini:

I write to you today requesting the timely approval of the San Luis Valley Radar dedicated data portal to enter the National Weather Service’s system. The delay in integrating the San Luis Valley Radar’s data into the National Weather Service’s forecasting and modeling programs should not be occurring.

The San Luis Valley Radar’s data, once approved, will improve the weather data for the entire state of Colorado. It appears that this assistance and improvement is being delayed and held at standstill on the federal level. I’m concerned and request an explanation. The NWS in Pueblo would benefit greatly from the use of this improved data. Once approved, the people in my district will have clearer weather forecasting that will benefit local economies and potentially save lives.

Additionally, $1.8 million was raised in efforts to build this radar system. This project was approved, built, is functioning, and for some reason has yet to be utilized. The bureaucratic red tape this project is facing needs explanation. Efficient use of resources is a necessary component of federal organizations, and non-utilization of the data means ignoring the system’s contribution to an important regional issue.

It is important the people of my district see the benefits of this program soon, following the swift approval of this data coming to fruition. I look forward to your response.