Representative Jean Cowan rebukes Senator Cantwell over NOAA

Cowan calls Cantwell’s threats for hearings an “abuse of power,” comments “disrespectful”
By State Representative Jean Cowan,

NEWPORT — State Rep. Jean Cowan (D-Newport) responded to a press release from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) today, calling Cantwell’s comments “disrespectful” towards Newport, Ore. and that her threat to hold Congressional hearings on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) would be an “abuse of power.”

“Relocating NOAA’s Marine Operations Center-Pacific (MOC-P) has been a very open and transparent process — one that the Port of Newport competed in fairly and presented the best, most cost effective overall package that makes sense,” said Cowan. “Senator Cantwell is improperly using her committee chairmanship to try and change a decision that directly impacts her state. This conflict of interest is the type of politics that Americans are tired of.”

Cantwell, in recent press releases, said she wanted to investigate “whether it would hurt NOAA’s capacity to hire and retain qualified mariners; whether NOAA fully understood the consequences of moving its ships away from a major maritime center; and whether NOAA ignored crucial weather factors in the Pacific Northwest” and “how the move impacts NOAA’s employees.”

“To raise an issue over the quality of life in Newport and the quality of our workforce is disrespectful and inappropriate. Newport attracts thousands of visitors from Washington every year — that must say something about the things our community has to offer,” said Cowan. “Our community has been supportive of this effort since the bidding process. We have strong schools, a supportive business community, and world-recognized access to marine science programs and research.”

Cowan also said during the NOAA decision-making process, Oregon’s Legislature, Gov. Ted Kulongoski, its congressional delegation and coastal communities all joined together to support this effort in stark contrast to the seemingly disinterested way Washington State approached this decision.

“We put the best bid together because we had everyone joining hands to make this a reality. From the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon Coast Community College, Newport Chamber of Commerce, and the Hatfield Marine Science Center to the Legislature’s willingness to help fund the building phase necessary to make this work, our state provided a united front that showed NOAA we not only want this facility, but are prepared to do whatever necessary to make NOAA’s relocation here a smooth and efficient transition,” said Cowan.

NOAA already has 60 full-time employees in Newport from various divisions, 40 NOAA contractors, and 36 affiliated employees of OSU who are part of the NOAA-OSU Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies (CIMRS). The Oregon State University Hatfield Marine Science Center, recognized worldwide for marine education, is also located in Newport.

“To say that Newport is somehow disconnected from marine science is completely inaccurate,” said Cowan. “We’re a leader in marine science, and that’s one of the reasons NOAA elected to relocate the MOC-P to Newport.”

Cowan is serving in her second term as State Representative for House District 10 on the Central Oregon Coast. She serves as Chair of the House Committee on Veterans & Emergency Services and as a member of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. She also serves on the Governor’s Commission for Senior Services, the Governor’s Homeland Security Council, and the Task Force for Women Veterans Health Care. Cowan served as a Lincoln County Commissioner from 1993-2004 and as a Mayor and City Councilor in Elgin, Ore.
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Posted by at 07:22 | Posted in Measure 37 | 6 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Diamond Jim Franconni

    Cantwell is simply quite a loon.

  • Steve Plunk

    Two Democrats fightin’ over pork.

  • Bob Rocha

    Hatfield Marine Science Center is proving itself to be a top-notch facility. If the state of OR is working as a team to make this work then more power to them. Mr. Plunk, if you think that fighting to bring a world-class research center to OR is a battle over pork then you obviously don’t truly understand how important ocean research is. We live on an ocean planet yet we seem to spend more money on space research. Oceans feed people, drive our weather patterns and provide at least half of the planet’s oxygen. Ocean research and education are hardly pork.

    • Anonymous

      Bob,

      My comments have to do with what has become the spoils system of political spending. This case is not about science or where the best place is for a research center but about getting the spending back in the home district for political gain. It was a flippant comment but appropriate.

      There are many things that we need to research and I believe ocean research an important endeavor. However I do recognize diminishing returns on the dollars put into research. There has to be an limit to what we taxpayers are expected to invest for the returns we are given. It’s a complex topic better discussed over many hours but I think you understand what I’m getting at. There is no doubt in my mind that a research or educational endeavor can reach pork levels.

      • state employee

        Oh, the conservative scientific elite speaking again! We have reached the point of diminishing returns from science. Who knows, we might even keep ahead of China for a while longer. Can’t have that, can we?

        Regardless of the merits of this particular operation, we don’t want too much of that science research money coming into Oregon. We might have to put up with more of those snotty OHSU and UO and OSU perfessers. Enough already!

  • taxpayer

    There’s plenty of Obama Money to go round… congress just increased the debt limit.. and if more is needed, not a problem! Under the new change, we now don’t need to give one moment’s thought to the marginal benefit or return for ANY spending! It’s wonderful!!

    I can’t figure out why the Republicans don’t just settle down and enjoy it. Geez… besides, isn’t it a bit unseemly for democrats to be fighting democrats over money? Aren’t we above all lthat? Like I said, now that we have Obama and his skillful professionals in power, we never have to worry about budgets ever again, so long as we keep democrats in office. That’s the key.. we must take a portion of every dollar spent on whatever and return it to democrat politicians.. we do that and everything’s fine.

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