Sustainability and the new Commerce Secretary

Washington, DC. The challenge of reconciling economic development and environmental protection especially confronts each new head of the US Commerce Department. Given the increased emphasis on job creation and economic recovery, to what degree will the new Commerce Secretary frame these priorities from a sustainable development perspective? Sustainability principles and values are currently part of the Commerce Department's domain, as noted in the promotion of sustainable manufacturing, sustainable fisheries, and economic and scientific strategies to address climate change.

Republican US Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, nominated by President Obama to be the new Secretary of the Department of Commerce, waits for Senate confirmation as environmentalists, economic justice activists and others assess his record and implications for the future. CitNet members are especially interested in learning Gregg's views on sustainability and the positions he will take, not only on economic and job creation priorities, but also with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

According to the Environmental News Service, Gregg's record in the Senate involves supporting commercial exploitation of resources, including offshore drilling, over environmental protection. The League of Conservation Voters found Gregg voting 70% of the time against LCV issues. Gregg's website, however, cites his "outstanding record on environment," pointing out that the New Hampshire Sierra Club called him a "Champion of Clean Air."

In the weeks to come, we will watch and listen to how Gregg views his challenges and how he uses the tools available to him.

Judd Gregg

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