Tierney said the IG’s report adds more evidence to the case for ousting NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco and making other changes in agency “leadership.”
“The department must work with the inspector general to promptly address the reported complaints, particularly the ones related to NOAA,” Tierney said. “Yet, for there to be any real progress toward changing the culture and restoring accountability at NOAA, there must be new leadership.
“I will continue pressing this point with the White House,” he added, “and trust it will be fully considered as decisions on cabinet and sub-cabinet positions are currently being contemplated for the president’s second term.”
Blank’s Office of Communication did not respond to a series of calls about the OIG’s annual report and the status of the second volume of case studies into possible NOAA law enforcement abuse of authority in actions involving the fishing industry. The bulk of cases involves Gloucester- and New Bedford-based boats.
The annual report also reported in detail on the status of the investigation sought by Tierney and Frank into suspicions that foundation-supported non-government organizations have exerted an inordinate and improper influence on NOAA’s rule making by biasing the regulations against fishermen.
“We are currently reviewing NOAA’s controls and processes surrounding fisheries rulemaking as the first phase of our assessment of transparency and the rule of fishery councils in rulemaking,” the Zinser report states. “An effective regulatory environment requires a fair and transparent rulemaking process. Our review will consider the interactions among federal officials, fishing industry members and non-government organizations in the development of fishing regulations.”