Lubchenco Will Helm
by Juliet Eilperin
President-elect Barack Obama has tapped Oregon State University professor Jane Lubchenco, one of the nation's most prominent marine biologists, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Lubchenco, a conservationist who has devoted much of her career to encouraging scientists to become more engaged in public policy debates, is also a vocal proponent of curbing greenhouse gases linked to global warming. The transition team could not be reached for comment, but several sources confirmed today that Lubchenco had been picked and was headed to Chicago for the upcoming announcement.
The appointment marks a shift for NOAA, which oversees marine issues as well as much of government's climate work. Lubchenco has criticized the agency in the past for not doing enough to curb overfishing.
Andrew Rosenberg, who served as deputy director of NOAA's Fisheries Service under Clinton and is now University of New Hampshire professor of natural resources and the environment, praised Lubchenco as an "absolutely world class scientist."
"When has NOAA been headed by a member of the National Academy and a fellow of the Royal Society?" he said, referring to America and Britain's most prestigious scientific societies. "That's exactly the right signal. It establishes NOAA as one of those key scientific agencies."
By selecting someone who's both a respected researcher and an active player in national policy discussions, Rosenberg added, "it's saying that science agencies have a role in policy. They need to be tightly connected, and I believe they will be tightly connected under Jane."
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