Murkowski: NOAA a "Fish Out of Water" at Commerce Department

Senator Agrees With Obama Proposal to Boost Government Efficiency

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an op-ed published in Alaskan media outlets statewide today, Senator Lisa Murkowski discussed the growing movement in Washington, DC regarding President Obama’s proposal to move the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department to the Department of Interior.  Murkowski evaluates the idea and tells Alaskans “it makes sense on a number of levels.”

President Obama spoke of the possible move in January, and since then both Commerce Secretary John Bryson and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar have since indicated support for the move.

In the following excerpt, Murkowski lays out the more “natural fit” of NOAA at Interior:

“NOAA is increasingly out of place at Commerce -- like a fish out of water. Its stated mission is to provide the scientific data necessary to protect lives and property, as well as to conserve and help manage our nation’s fisheries, oceans and coastlines. Now consider the two departments it could be located in. Commerce is primarily focused on the promotion of economic growth and international trade, dealing with patents and other commercial issues. Interior, meanwhile, manages natural resources, public lands, and fish and wildlife. Based on that alone, it’s easy to see why Interior is a more natural fit…

“NOAA and Interior have a lot in common. Both focus on offshore mapping and charting. Both manage marine mammals, fish stocks, and habitats under many of the same environmental statutes. Both monitor climate issues affecting conservation and direct adaption efforts. Both coordinate and advance foundational science. NOAA’s marine sanctuary, estuary research reserve system, and marine protected area programs parallel programs at Interior.”

Interior Secretary Salazar Indicates Support
(Click for video)

Commerce Secretary Bryson Finds "Synergies" in Proposal