Off with NOAA’s head

That’s the cry of two leading Democrats on the House Science Committee, who announced Monday that they want the president to remove Conrad Lautenbacher as the administrator of NOAA. Full committee ranking member Bart Gordon (D-TN) and David Wu (D-OR), ranking member of the environment, technology, and standards subcommittee, said they want Lautenbacher and John J. Kelly Jr., the deputy administrator for oceans and atmosphere, removed because of the cost overruns and delays in the NPOESS satellite program. “Who is accountable for the billions of dollars cost due to gross mismanagement of this essential program? The buck stops at the feet of the Admiral and his deputy, the General,” said Gordon, referring to the ranks held by Lautenbacher and Kelly, respectively. “If the President fails to take action to refresh NOAA leadership and salvage this program, then the blame should rightly shift from the agency to the Oval Office.” While Republican members of the committee have not made similar calls, it’s clear from last week’s hearing that they’re also not exactly giving him a huge vote of confidence.

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