Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 22 June 2012
So much for the John Bryson era as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It began with his Senate confirmation in October and ended yesterday when he submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama, less than two weeks after the car he was driving was involved in collisions with two other vehicles near his California home.
Commerce Department officials say Bryson's neurologists concluded after initial testing that he suffered a complex partial seizure. These seizures cause abnormal electrical activity in an isolated section of the brain; a person could still perform simple tasks, doctors say, but be unable to handle more complex tasks.
Bryson, 68, announced two days after the incident that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from the Commerce Department, NOAA's parent agency. He issued his resignation letter Wednesday, writing that, "I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the Department."
Hence, Rebecca M. Blank steps up to the plate as the acting Commerce Secretary. She takes over for Bryson, who was named to the post after Gary Locke stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China. It remains to be seen whether the president will nominate a new secretary for confirmation in this presidential election year. Don't bet the boat payment on it.
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...