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Michael Souza

Lubchenco Flees Kerry Hearing

By October 25, 2011

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    NOAA chief takes her ball & goes home.
Cheers..Now I'm outta here!
    When the going gets tough, NOAA chief administrator Jane Lubchenco gets going, and keeps on going, right out the door. At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing held in Boston earlier this week, walked out after staying during two-thirds of the way through.
    According to Richard Gaines of The Gloucester Times, she left to advertise and lobby NOAA's catch share plan to The Boston Globe.
    The hearing was organized by Sen. John Kerry, who postponed it several times to accommodate her. At a senate subcommittee hearing scheduled in June by Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown, Lubchenco declined to attend and sent assistant administrator Eric Schwaab.
    Lubchenco stayed until University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth marine scientist Brian Rothschild, a critic of NOAA's policies, began his presentation.
    Sen. Scott Brown, and Reps. Barney Frank and John Tierney were critical of her leaving. Brown issued a statement questioning if she was qualified for her job. Brown also said her timing for leaving shows she has no interest in what the scientific community says.
    The mayors of Gloucester (Carolyn Kirk) and New Bedford (Scott Lang), who have sued NOAA over Amendment 16, were also upset. Lang called on President Obama to replace her, or suffer politically in a traditional Democratic stronghold such as Massachusetts, as paying the price for re-engineering the groundfishery into a job-killing, government-driven commodities market.
    Rothschild is well-respected in the fishing industry and was Barney Frank's nominee to head the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), but Lubchenco refused to make the appointment.
    "NOAA promised that catch share system would end the race to fish, rebuild fisheries and sustain communities and vibrant working waterfronts, increase conservation of species, reduce the management costs; and, produce more and better data.," Rothschild said in a prepared statement. "None of these promises have been fulfilled; In fact, the system has resulted in losses of landings, revenue and jobs, a controversial reallocation of wealth, and a failure to eliminate chronic, costly overfishing and underfishing."


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