GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

March 1, 2012

IG to NOAA: New probe going forward

The Commerce Department inspector general's office has notified NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco that the investigation sought by two Massachusetts congressmen into the influences of non-government organizations on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its regional fishery management councils is going forward.

Inspector General Todd Zinser agreed to the probe last October in a letter to Congressmen John Tierney and Barney Frank. They had requested the investigation in an Aug. 17 letter to Zinser.

Ann C. Eilers, principal assistant inspector general for audit and evaluation, indicated the investigation would be national rather than regional in scope in a Jan. 10 memo to Lubchenco, NOAA General Counsel Lois Schiffer, Bruce Buckson, director of the Office of Law Enforcement, and nearly a dozen other high officials the agency.

"Our review of fishery management councils and rule making will be conducted in phases and result in interim products produced at several intervals," Eilers' memo said.

It also said the first step would be an "entrance conference" followed by the "conduct of our review at the fishery management councils and other NOAA locations as necessary."

Zinser's office uncovered widespread abuse of law enforcement authority in 2010, which led to a cabinet-level apology to eight victims of justice miscarried and more than $600,000 in reparations in August 2010.

A special judicial master, retained by then-Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke — now ambassador to China, followed leads into the most egregious cases and has been investigating dozens more, with a second public report based on the follow-up batch of cases expected this spring.

The inspector general's new investigation, as it pertains to the New England Fishery Management Council, arrives as a federal lawsuit against the work of the council and NOAA in creating the catch share regimen for the groundfishery heads into the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest