Environmentalist Takes the Lead at NOAA
Jane Lubchenco, a noted marine ecologist and environmental scientist, was selected by Obama some time ago to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration but her nomination has been held up in the Senate (if this sound familiar to you, you're not alone). Yesterday, however, the Senate finally confirmed her, putting this MacArthur Genius Fellowship recipient at the helm of the nation's preeminent agency in charge of climate, the oceans, and the atmosphere. The MacArthur grant is only the beginning of her credentials. Other awards include the 2002 Heinz Award in the Environment, the 2003 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, the 2004 Environmental Law Institute Award, and the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science's Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology.
Lubchenco takes her place in a long line of Obama appointees who are highly qualified and science-based environmentalists. She states, "With hard work and the best science as our guide, NOAA can spur the creation of new jobs and industries, revive our fisheries and the economies and communities they support, improve weather forecasting and disaster warnings, provide credible information about climate change to Americans, and protect and restore our coastal ecosystems." Climate change? Protecting coastal ecosystems? This is quite the new direction in the wake of the former agency head, Conrad Lautenbacher. The administrator under Bush was seen by many as not a scientific tool to assist in policy, but rather a political tool to interfere in sound science.
See the NOAA press release here.