Help free John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco

The Washington Post reports today:

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has placed a “hold” that blocks votes on confirming Harvard University physicist John Holdren, who is in line to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Oregon State University marine biologist Jane Lubchenco, Obama’s nominee to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. According to sources who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, Menendez is using the holds as leverage to get Senate leaders’ attention for a matter related to Cuba rather than questioning the nominees’ credentials.

I am in general a fan of Sen. Menendez, but this is just not the right way to get what he wants done. Putting U.S. science policy — and most especially policy related to climate science — back on track may be the single most important task this administration has.

We urgently need Lubchenco (see “For NOAA head, Obama appoints yet another scientist who gets climate“) and most especically Holdren (see “Obama’s strongest message on climate yet: John Holdren to be named Science Adviser“).

What can you do?

Here is the contact info for his office, courtesty of Climate Science Watch:

Menendez, Robert – (D – NJ)


(202) 224-4744

Here is an excerpt from their letter to the Senator:

In the interest of responsibly dealing with one of the biggest challenges of our time — not to mention a looming threat to your own constituents in New Jersey who face the prospect of coastal flooding and more dangerous storm surges as a result of sea level rise and other myriad impacts — we respectfully appeal to your good judgment and ask you to release the hold on the Senate confirmation.

As the Post noted:

Stanford University professor Stephen H. Schneider said it was critical that Holdren take office as soon as possible, because “I know no others who bring the triple-play capability of John on security, energy and environment.

Hear! Hear!

UPDATE: Gristmill‘s Kate Sheppard asks, “Is this the same Menendez who last year told Grist that climate change should be a top environmental priority for the Senate, calling the issue ‘incredibly important’?” h/t WR.

7 Responses to Help free John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco

  1. Gail says:

    This was my message to the Senator:

    Dear Senator Menendez.

    I voted for you. I voted for you because I expected you to behave like a Democrat and support our new President, Obama.

    I DID NOT vote for you to obstruct the work he must do for our country, chief among which is to address climate change.

    I am simply ENRAGED to read that you are standing in the way of confirmation of two of his appointees who would undertake this enormously urgent task. Particularly to read that you are doing so for the ridiculous purpose of blocking a relaxation on the relations with Cuba.

    Senator Menendez, get your priorities straight or I can assure you, next round of voting and your career in the Senate will be OVER.


    Gail Zawacki

  2. David B. Benson says:

    Thank you, Gail.

  3. Rick C says:

    The United States and the world can go to hell and burn like hell too but Menendez priority is “¡Viva Cuba Libre!” at all costs. Damn him! Maybe there’s a photo of him shaking hands with Luis Posada Carilles (Western Hemisphere terrorist extraordinaire) or Orlando Bosch (Ditto). Oh, wait that would only give him greater stature in the Cuban exile community. After all it is only what the exile community wants that matters. To hell with whether our lives will be worth living should we reach the tipping points prof. James Hansen is warning us about.

  4. Rick C says:

    I recommend we all send Senator Menendez “Clean Coal” arsesol cans and perhaps some Soylent Green to show him the cost of not addressing climate change.

  5. jorleh says:

    Cuba killing human species?

  6. Shawna Murray MD says:

    I sent a letter to the senator asking him to release the freeze of the nominations in light of our immediate need for highly skilled scientists to be in leadership positions in the government. I reinforced the fact that citizens are much better informed and politically active due to the influence of the internet and that political games are no longer tolerated. Thank you for making this continued problem with politicians public. They are there to represent our best interests at all times, no matter what state we live in. Environmental issues need to be at the top of everyone’s agenda.

  7. Melty says:

    I also wrote in (below-short’n’sweet?). Apparently our collective voices do get heard on the hill, at least by Sen. Menendez. More problematic are the anonymous holders-up: just who are they?

    “I do not understand how you and other senators can take it upon yourselves to block the confirmation of these fine scientists as a political tactic on matters unrelated to science. I had thought that you were one of the few principled New Jersey politicians but holding science hostage to other issues is completely unacceptable.”