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December 11, 2012

Editorial: IG's NOAA report puts onus on the White House

No one inside the Beltway or along the East Coast from Maine to the Carolinas should be the least bit surprised that even the annual report from the Commerce Department’s own Inspector General spotlights not only the number of complaints received about its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but NOAA’s absolute lack of any commitment to address them.

Let’s face it, NOAA chief administrator Jane Lubchenco has shown nothing but contempt for Congress and for America’s fishermen since President Obama plopped her into the top NOAA seat in 2009 to do the bidding of the Environmental Defense Fund and other nonprofit giants. Her lack of accountability has never been more evident than in her refusal to take any substantive, punitive action against her former law enforcement chief, Dale Jones, Gloucester-based agent-in-charge Andy Cohen, and others in their thuggish posse, despite demands to do so from the likes of U.S. Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry.

With that in mind, Congressman John Tierney deserves credit for seeing the Commerce Inspector General’s report for what it is — another damning piece of evidence that NOAA is sorely lacking in leadership under Lubchenco’s misdirection.

“I will continue pressing this point with the White House,” Tierney said, “and trust it will be fully considered as decisions on cabinet and sub-cabinet positions are currently being contemplated for the president’s second term.”

The Inspector General’s report should get all lawmakers’ and the White House’s attention, and drive home the point that Lubchenco — whose job-killing catch share policy has plunged the Northeast fishery into a recognized economic “disaster” — is incapable of working in any agency of government, where accountability and transparency are inherent parts of the deal.

When it comes time for handing out appointed posts for Obama’s second term, nothing may speak louder than his choices for the positions to head Commerce and NOAA. If Lubchenco gets a second four years to destroy America’s fisheries, it will show that the president’s call for “jobs, jobs, jobs” is as fraudulent as NOAA’s science.

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