Lubchenco stepping down from top NOAA post next year

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco will not be part of Obama administration’s second term. The Commerce Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere told her staff Wednesday that she will be leaving the post early next year.

“I announced to the NOAA family today that I’ll be leaving at the end of February,” she said. “So I’m really proud of all we’ve been able to accomplish and can leave knowing things are in good hands, cause there’s a lot more to be done.”

Lubchenco helped lead the administration’s response to the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is responsible for fishery policies and marine mammal management, as well as the National Weather Service.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s support for expanding quota share programs for fisheries has been controversial in Alaska.

Before going to work for the administration, Lubchenco was a professor of marine ecology at Oregon State University, and a longtime advocate for science and science communication to the public.

She says she will continue those efforts.

“I envision myself continuing to play a role in being a champion for science and for use of science especially in making environmental decisions,” she said.

“The scientific information helps us do a better job managing fisheries so they can be sustainable, in protecting healthy ocean and ocean ecosystems, because we depend on them for so much. And if we want to be good stewards then the scientific information can help us understand how to do that.”

Lubchenco is a former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and has been part of President Obama’s science team.

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