, Gloucester, MA

October 16, 2011

Editorial: Lubchenco's snub of hearing for Globe is last straw

So now we know.

The big "appointment" that cried out for NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco to leave a Boston U.S. Senate subcommittee meeting pulled together by U.S. John Kerry prior to hearing the important testimony of perhaps the nation's most acclaimed marine scientist wasn't a high-level policy meeting in D.C.

It wasn't even a meeting of NOAA and Commerce officials to assess her embarrassing hearing testimony about waiting for Gov. Patrick to produce even more data showing the economic hardship her job-gutting catch share policies is having on Gloucester, New Bedford and other ports.

Lubchenco and her little entourage, as Times writer Richard Gaines confirmed last week, left the hearing prior to hearing out UMass-Dartmouth professor Brian Rothschild so she could meet with the editorial board of The Boston Globe, no doubt trying to lobby paper's support.

We've long noted Lubchenco's clear contempt for Congress in dealing with fisheries issues — even beyond her policy push to steer more quota and control of fishermen's catch into the hands of large-scale, corporate interests while driving the small family fishing businesses the way of the family farm.

But this slap in the face to the widely-respected Rothschild, let alone to subcommittee panelists like Sen. Scott Brown, Congressmen John Tierney, Barney Frank and William Keating, and Kerry — who had hoped this hearing would generate positive interaction between her and the industry — has to be the last straw.

Justin Kenney, Lubchenco's press spokesman, said the Globe lobbying push "was an opportunity to discuss the progress we've made and the challenges we face in rebuilding our fisheries and strengthening the jobs and communities that depend on them."

Baloney. Lubchenco hasn't shown one iota of caring for fishermen or their communities since she conceded in 2009 that her catch-share plan would bring about a consolidation of the fleet — just like the loss of waterfront jobs and small businesses that catch shares has already claimed.

It likely wasn't asked a The Globe meeting, but this episode again conjures up the question Brown raised during a June Senate panel hearing at Faneuil Hall — the hearing Lubchenco snubbed altogether. "What does it take to get fired at NOAA?" the state's junior senator had asked National Marine Fisheries chief Eric Schwaab.

We still don't know the answer to that question. But we can hope Lubchenco gets the word — and soon — that ditching Senate subcommittee testimony to tout her corporate-backed, job-killing policies to a band of newspaper editors has crossed the final line.