GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

December 19, 2012

Editorial: Feds cannot allow exiting NOAA chief any transition role

There can be no celebration, only a sense of profound relief over the resignation and coming exit of Jane Lubchenco as chief administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And that sense of relief should not allow either commercial fishermen or our federal lawmakers to relax their guards between now and the February date when Lubchenco will formally bow out of her role. Indeed, the downside of Lubchenco’s plan to leave her six-figure post is that the Department of Commerce is essentially allowing her to do so on her own terms as if she should have had any choice after her policies reduced one of America’s oldest and most noble small-business industries to an admitted state of “economic disaster” in New England during her four short years at the helm.

But while federal leaders seek a successor, it’s important that this tunnel-visioned pseudo scientist — whose signature paper supporting her own catch share agenda is a now widely discredited report funded by a Walton Foundation whose Wal-Mart roots could benefit greatly from it — not have any role whatsoever in any transition process.

For throughout her term, Lubchenco has shown nothing but disdain for the fishing industry, for congressional leaders and for American taxpayers, who are still paying six-figure salaries to now-ousted NOAA law enforcement leaders who have been cited by Inspector General’s Office investigators for carrying out excessive enforcement against fishermen and other businesses, misspending money from an asset forfeiture fund, and shredding federal documents while an investigation was under way.

True to form, Lubchenco’s resignation statement included verbage suggesting that she and her minions have ended overfishing and restored economic stability to America’s fisheries through her job-killing catch share fishery management policies and debilitating catch limits based on what we now know is the shakiest of science.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion