The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Trasportation is holding nomination hearings right now on Dr. Jane Lubchenco, to be chief administrator of NOAA, and of Dr. John Holdren, to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President.
The hearing is being webcast at the Committee's web site.
Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is on this committee, and NOAA plays a major role in the affairs of Alaska.
Update: 7:15 a.m: Senator Begich questioned nominee Lubchenco extensively on her views on aquaculture - read salmon farming - in Federal waters, where there are concerns about the aquaculture having an adverse impact upon native wild stocks. She seemed to be backing off from the Bush administration's hard line on this, deferring to local knowledge and local needs, if they are science-based.
8:10 a.m: Senator Begich is being given an opportunity to ask more questions. The first has to do with breaking logjams in inter-agency disputes, and Alaska's rich history in having to endure these hassles. More of a statement than a question, I guess.
He is also following up on Sen. Cantwell's interest in Arctic USCG capabilities. Sen. Begich is asking for a visual image (like a wall chart) of how Lubchenco's agencies plan to deal with a more realistic presence in the Arctic, both on land and at sea.