Ocean Champions is the only political voice for ocean health. We take a non-partisan approach in working with
the U.S. Congress to ensure ocean health through electoral and legislative action.

Who Will Run the Agencies?

Posted by: Jack Sterne

We spend a lot of time thinking about who will be in Congress, who will be President, and who will be Cabinet Secretaries.  But there’s another level of personnel that can make just as big a difference as those high-profile positions, and that’s the choice of who will run NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the two agencies that have the biggest influence on ocean policy.

Now that we know that New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson will be the Secretary of Commerce, we can begin speculating about these lower-level appointments (NOAA is within the Department of Commerce, and NMFS is housed within NOAA — I know, don’t get me started on how crazy it is that the oceans agencies are located within Commerce, as if the oceans are just there to make money).

For those of us working these issues in D.C., the rumor-mill is swirling.  Would somebody high-profile like Leon Panetta or Bruce Babbitt take the NOAA slot?  While that would be great, most of us think it’s unlikely that Richardson could have someone of their stature under him — the politics are just too complicated.

Rep. Tom Allen of Maine, an Ocean Champions endorsee who just lost a bid for the U.S. Senate, is also reportedly making a serious push for the NOAA job, and could be a good choice.

The Washington Post had a this week speculating about potential names, but as with everything in this sport about who will lead what, it’s all speculation (even if it is informed speculation).  These are important appointments, though, and they bear watching.  We’ll certainly do what we can to weigh in.

Date Posted: December 11, 2008 @ 11:56 am

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Ocean Champions is the only political voice for ocean health. We take a non-partisan approach in working with the U.S. Congress to ensure ocean health through electoral and legislative action.

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