Gary Locke to Be New Commerce Secretary

Posted by: Jack Sterne

News reports indicate that former Washington Governor Gary Locke will be tapped as President Obama’s new Secretary of Commerce. Locke was a two-term governor who was most interested in education and Pacific Rim trade issues, particularly with China (he’s the only Chinese-American ever elected governor of any state). No doubt this international trade experience (and China in particular) played a big part in his selection.

Friends tell me that environmental issues are not his passion, but that he had good positions as governor, and should be good on these issues as Commerce Secretary. Apparently he’s a super-clean politician and family man, and should have no problem with the confirmation process.

We of course have a keen interest in Commerce, as that’s where NOAA is housed. If these reports are right, one could guess that Locke will probably be content to let fellow Northwesterner and new NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko exercise fairly broad discretion to run the agency, and that would be a good thing.

Date Posted: February 23, 2009 @ 5:47 pm Comments Off

Salazar Puts Brakes on Drilling … For Now

Posted by: Jack Sterne

Some good news, at least temporarily, on plans for new offshore drilling. New Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has put a halt to the Bush Administration’s plan to allow oil and gas leasing in all U.S. waters.

While not promising to reimpose the moratorium, Sec. Salazar is extending the public comment period on the plan. But it seems pretty clear that there will be significant restrictions on where drilling can occur, compared to what Pres. Bush had proposed. However, it’s also pretty clear that they need to hear from folks that they don’t want new offshore drilling.

Also of interest is that “the administration will look for ways to generate energy offshore by using renewable sources such as wind, waves or tides.” Ocean Champions recently signed on to a forward-looking proposal to the Obama Administration laying out key principles that should drive wave and tidal energy development.

Date Posted: February 11, 2009 @ 12:40 pm Comments Off