Les Blumenthal of McClatchy Newspapers would like to remind you all that the oceans are polluted and foreign ships are taking North America’s fish. He spends a good 373 words going into excruciating detail about this. If my journalism instructor were reading this article, he’d take marks off for a soft lead that just. Won’t. Stop.
So as not to be a hypocrite, I’ll get to the point. In what may be the world’s greatest example of why bureaucracy will be the end of us all, a number of lawmakers are trying to determine how many out of 140 regulatory agencies for oceans should form a proposed National Ocean Council. So far, it would include the administrators of NASA and the EPA, the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (?), among others.
Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), respectively the chairman and the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard (try fitting that on a business card), have both expressed confusion over why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been left off the list of agencies prepared by the White House task force overseeing the aforementioned proposal. My guess is that they simply forgot; how can’t you forget with a roster like that?
It would make perfect sense to ask for the NOAA’s input on oceanic affairs. They already oversee the science of oceans, coastlines, marine resources, climate, and air quality. The advantage of a National Ocean Council over the current set-up would be to help the NOAA explore angles they might neglect to consider, i.e. budgeting, security, and foreign competition.
Cantwell and Snowe are also confused why the NOAA is an arm of the Commerce Department, instead of, say, the Interior Department. I bet the officials who first thought up the NOAA decided which department would get it by having all the secretaries pull agencies out of a hat. It’s faster than just making a logical choice.
How this even became news is a mystery. Obviously Blumenthal was trying to demonstrate the ridiculousness of the federal government’s organization chart, and he succeeded. I’m getting a migraine just trying to grasp all the information. But couldn’t the task force just say to the subcommittee, “Yeah, we kinda forgot, but we’ll add it right now”? Or do they need to fill out a stack of forms before they can?