Panelist and Moderator Profiles
Donald F. Boesch is a Professor and President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. He also serves as Vice Chancellor for Environmental Sustainability for the University System of Maryland. He earned his B.S. from Tulane University and Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary. Prior to coming to Maryland in 1990, Don held faculty positions in Virginia and Louisiana.
A biological oceanographer who has conducted research on coastal and continental shelf ecosystems through the United States and in China and Australia, Don has spent much of his career conducting or leading research related to the restoration of two great American coastal ecosystems, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Mississippi Delta. In recent years, he has worked to understand the potential impacts of climate change and how to adapt to them. Don is the Chair of the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board and serves as a member of the National Academies’ Committee on America’s Climate Choices. He was one of the seven members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the Future of Offshore Drilling.
Dr. Michael Carron is the Director of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, the entity created by BP and the Gulf States governors’ Gulf of Mexico Alliance to help dispense its research dollars investigating the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. His previous position was Director of the Northern Gulf Institute (NGI). During his time at NGI, Michael has helped to develop the Institute’s Science, Education and Research Management Plan, served as a member of NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Collaboration Team, the Governor’s Gulf of Mexico Alliance Priority Issue Team for Nutrients, helped develop the proposed Coastal Zone Management Act and developed multi-institution teams to perform research in the Northern Gulf region. Michael graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968 with a B.S. in Oceanography. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Marine Science from the College of William and Mary, and completed an M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies at the Naval War College. He began his career at the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office, where he focused on oceanographic surveying, and eventually became the Chief Scientist and headed the overall scientific program. From 2002-2006, Michael worked with the NATO Undersea Research Center to investigate the effect of SONAR and other man-made noises on marine mammals.
Representative Kathy Castor
Kathy Castor is a third-term representative for Florida’s 11th Congressional district, which includes parts of the Tampa Bay area along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Castor is a member of the House Budget Committee and the Committee on Armed Services. Castor has introduced “H.R. 480, Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act of 2011” to provide for restoration of environment and economy of the Gulf Coast after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. She is also opposed to new drilling off of Florida’s coast, as it can pose a threat to the economy, jobs, and the environment of the state. Castor received her Bachelor’s from Emory University and her Law degree from Florida State University College of Law. Prior to election to Congress, Castor served as a Hillsborough County Commissioner, and was chair of the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission. She was named as the 2005 “Woman of the Year” in government by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
Dr. David O. Conover was appointed as the Director for the Division of Ocean Sciences at the National Science Foundation in 2010. Ocean Sciences is the largest division at NSF, and David oversees several major international programs, such as the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), the Ocean Observatory Initiative (OOI) and core programs within Ocean Sciences. David earned his B.S. in Biology from Eckerd College in 1975. He completed his M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1982) in Fisheries Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. From 2003 to 2010, David was the Dean of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. He had been a Professor at Stony Brook Since 1981. He also served as the Mote Eminent Scholar Chair in Fisheries Ecology at the Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University during 1997-1998. During his time at Stony Brook, David led activities which expanded the undergraduate program as well as the geosciences aspect of the University. He has worked with the legislative branch of the government at both state and federal levels, and has been a valued member of numerous boards of Directors and advisory panels.
Walter D. Cruickshank is the Deputy Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), which has taken over the responsibilities of the Minerals Management Service (MMS). He has held this position since 2002. Walter assists the BOEMRE Director in administering programs which ensure effective management of outer continental shelf energy and mineral resources, including environmentally safe exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas and renewable energies. Walter received his Bachelor’s degree in Geological Sciences from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in Mineral Economics. Walter has worked in the Department of the Interior for over 25 years. From 1997 to 2002, he served as the Associate Director for Policy and Management improvement for MMS, in which he supervised strategic planning, the administrative appeals process, management reforms, and conducted various policy and program analyses. He also was involved in the development and implementation of the President’s National Energy Policy within the Department of the Interior. In 2002, Walter received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, given to high-performing senior career employees for “sustained extraordinary accomplishment.”
John H. Hankinson is the Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, a state/federal entity established by President Obama last October to pursue ecosystem restoration on the Gulf Coast. John is a Florida native who has worked for 30 years on environmental issues in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. He has brought together industry, government and stakeholder groups to form partnerships to restore ecosystems across the southeast. He has worked with the National Estuary Program in the Gulf of Mexico, and directed development and implementation of a water quality protection plan for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. He also oversaw restoration and protection of the St. Johns River System in Florida. John served as a Regional Administrator of the EPA from 1994-2001. Prior to his appointment as executive Director, John was an environment and conservation lands consultant, and advised on land conservation, strategic land use in decision making, and constructive environmental management and policy projects.
Catherine Hazlewood is the Oceans Counsel for the Majority Staff of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation chaired by Senator Rockefeller. In her service, Catherine is responsible for the Committee’s portfolio relating to ocean policy and governance, coastal management, ecosystems and habitat, water quality, offshore development and impacts, weather and atmospheric issues and oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Prior to coming to the Hill, Catherine directed several legislative and regulatory campaigns at The Nature Conservancy, the largest environmental charitable organization in the world. Catherine has also worked at The Ocean Conservancy, the United Nations and the Commission on Environmental Law of the IUCN (World Conservation Union). Catherine has previously been appointed to several international, federal and state advisory bodies, and has served as a lecturer on ocean policy and law for the American Law Institute and the American Bar Association. Catherine received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and her J.D. from Pace University School of Law in New York where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Environmental Law Review.
Dr. Ann Jochens is a Research Scientist in Oceanography at Texas A&M University. She came to physical oceanography as a mathematician and attorney with extensive experience in environmental, safety, and permitting in the oil and gas and minerals industries. For over 20 years, Ann has been a Principal Investigator on major studies of the circulation and water properties over the Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida shelf, slope, and in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. She was Program Manager for the Gulf of Mexico Sperm Whale Seismic Study, and participated in the World Ocean Circulation Experiment. Ann earned her B.S. (1974) in Mathematics and Statistics at Southern Methodist University, her J.D. (1977) with a Background Specialty in Ocean Law from the University of Oregon, and her M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1997) in Oceanography from Texas A&M University. Since 2005, Ann has been the Regional Coordinator and currently is the PI for the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System Regional Association (GCOOS-RA) that is working to build a sustained, integrated, operational ocean observing system for the Gulf of Mexico as part of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System.
Michael Kearns is the Director of External Affairs at the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA). NOIA is the only national trade association representing all segments of the offshore energy industry. The NOIA membership comprises nearly 300 companies engaged in activities ranging from drilling to producing, engineering to marine and air transport, offshore construction to equipment manufacture and supply, geophysical surveying to diving, and ocean-based renewable energy to finance. Michael works as an advocate on behalf of NOIA and its member companies before Congress and the Administration, seeking laws, regulations and policies that will support and enhance reliable access to the nation’s valuable offshore hydrocarbon resources in order that they may be developed, produced and supplied in an environmentally responsible manner.
Prior to joining NOIA, Michael was a member of the staff of the Congressionally-created U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, where he served as Special Assistant to the Executive Director and Assistant Project Manager. Michael has also worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and at the Advisory Board Company.
Michael graduated from Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1993 with a degree in Government and History.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco is the ninth and first woman Administrator of NOAA and Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Nominated by President Obama in December of 2008, she was confirmed by the US Senate in March 2009. She is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, with expertise in oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. She received her B.A. in Biology from Colorado College, her M.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in Ecology from Harvard University. Her academic career began at Harvard University (1975-1977) and continued at Oregon State University (1977-2009) until her present appointment. She has served as President for the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Council for Science, and the Ecological Society of America, and was a board member for the National Science Board for ten years. She served on several commissions, including the Pew Oceans Commission, the Joint Oceans Commission Initiative, the Aspen Institute Arctic Commission and the Council of Advisors for Google Ocean. Dr. Lubchenco is one of the “most highly cited” ecologists in the world, eight of her publications are recognized as “Science Citation Classics.” She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Royal Society, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Europe, and Chile. Dr. Lubchenco has received numerous awards, and has most recently been named “2010 Newsmaker of the Year” by the scientific journal Nature. Dr. Lubchenco has also co-founded three organizations (The Leopold Leadership Program, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea (COMPASS), and Climate Central) that aim to communicate scientific knowledge to the public, policy makers, media, and industry.
Marcia McNutt is Director of the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for leading the Nation’s largest water, earth, biological science, and civilian mapping agency in its mission to provide the scientific data that enable decision makers to create sound policies for a changing world.
She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was awarded by the American Geophysical Union the Macelwane Medal in 1988 for research accomplishments by a young scientist and the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her significant contributions to deep-sea exploration. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota, Colorado College, and Monmouth University.
Dr. McNutt received a bachelor’s in Physics from Colorado College and a doctorate in Earth Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Dr. Kate C. Miller is currently the Dean of the College of Geosciences and Professor of Geology and Geophysics at Texas A&M University, a position held since 2009. She received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1982, her Masters from Stanford University in 1988, and her Ph.D. also from Stanford in 1991. From 1982-1986, Kate worked as a geoscientist for Amoco Production Company in New Orleans. After she received her doctorate in 1991, Kate took a job at the University of Texas at El Paso as a Research Specialist. At UTEP, Kate worked her way up to become the Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences in 1999. She maintained this position until 2004, when she became the Associate Dean for the College of Science. In addition to teaching and conducting geophysical research, Kate led a number of grants related to recruitment and retention of minorities in the geosciences and math and science education, during her time at UTEP. Among these efforts were the Pathways program (related to the NSF OEDG Program) and the Math and Science Teachers (MasT) Academy, which focused on future secondary education math and science teachers. Kate’s current research focuses on the application of active source seismology to the origin and evolution of the continental lithosphere. She has also been involved in using active source techniques to better understand earthquakes and other environmental hazards.
Dr. Shirley Pomponi is Executive Director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, in Fort Pierce, Florida. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography from the University of Miami. Her research focuses on marine biotechnology, in general, and the discovery and development of marine-derived drugs, in particular. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific publications and is co-inventor on several patents. She has led numerous research expeditions worldwide and has made more than 300 dives in Harbor Branch’s Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles. In July-August 2010, in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Dr. Pomponi led a 30 day Cooperative Institute expedition to conduct baseline assessments of the health of corals and sponges in mesophotic and deep reef environments on the west Florida shelf (www.cioert.org). Dr. Pomponi is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, President of the Southern Association of Marine Laboratories, and Chair of the Florida Institute of Oceanography Council. She is a member of the Florida Oceans and Coastal Council, the U.S. National Committee for the Census of Marine Life, the National Association of Marine Laboratories, the Southeast Coastal Ocean Observing Regional Association, the Florida Ocean Alliance, and the Board of Directors of the Women Divers Hall of Fame.
Nancy N. Rabalais, Ph.D., is a Professor and Executive Director at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium in Cocodrie LA. Dr. Rabalais’ research interests include the dynamics of hypoxic environments, interactions of large rivers with the coastal ocean, estuarine and coastal eutrophication, and science policy. Dr. Rabalais is currently serving as a Member of the NRC Committee on the Mississippi River and the Clean Water Act and the Committee on the Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Mississippi Canyon-252 Oil Spill on Ecosystem Services in the Gulf of Mexico, and recently the NRC Committees on the Evolution of the National Oceanographic Research Fleet and Review of Water and Environmental Research Systems (WATERS) Network. She is an elected member of the Board of Trustees for the Consortium on Ocean Leadership, the Council for the University National-Oceanographic Laboratory System, Vice Chair of the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, President Elect of the Southern Association of Marine Labs, and Member of the Board of Directors for GCOOS the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System. Dr. Rabalais received her Ph.D. in Zoology from The University of Texas at Austin in 1983.
Dr. Christopher M. Reddy is a Senior Scientist in Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). He is also the Director of the Coastal Ocean Institute at WHOI. Chris received his B.S. in Chemistry from Rhode Island College in 1992, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography in 1997 from the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. After completing his Ph.D., Chris took a post-doctoral position at WHOI, and has worked there ever since. Chris has won many honors and awards, including Kavli Fellow Awards in 2009 and 2010 from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Chris’ research looks at the sources, transport, and fate of organic contaminants in coastal and oceanic waters. His current work examines the short- and long-term fate of petroleum hydrocarbons in marine systems. Chris is currently studying natural oil seeps and several oil spills, including one that occurred four decades ago, as well as the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Dr. Larry Robinson was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in May, 2010. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Robinson served as the Vice President for Research at Florida A&M University (FAMU). Since 2001 he served as Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Cooperative Science Center housed at FAMU. Dr. Robinson graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Memphis State University in 1979, and earned a doctorate in nuclear chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984. From 1997 to 2003, Dr. Robinson was the director of FAMU’s Environmental Sciences Institute where he led efforts to establish B.S. and Ph.D. degree programs in 1998 and 1999, respectively. He served as FAMU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs starting in 2003 before returning to the faculty ranks in 2005. In 2007, he was called upon by the FAMU Board of Trustees to serve as interim Chief Executive Officer for the University. Also in 2007, he became the first African American to serve as Science Advisor to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) where he served until 2009. In 2008, he was selected to serve on the Oceans Research and Resources Advisory Panel (ORRAP) and as a founding member of the National Science Foundation’s National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Science Technology Education Advisory Committee. Previously, Dr. Robinson served as a research scientist and group leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during the period 1984 – 1997. His research interests include environmental chemistry, the application of nuclear methods to detect trace elements in environmental matrices, and environmental policy and management.
Tara Rothschild is a Senior Professional Staff member on the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. Her policy portfolio covers environmental research and development, including NOAA and EPA, but also includes Federal climate science, marine research, and water R&D. Prior to coming to work for Chairman Hall (then Ranking Member) in 2007, Tara was the Environment, Energy and Climate Legislative Assistant for U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE). Tara started her career on Capitol Hill at the beginning of the 109th Congress as an intern and the research assistant for the Energy and Air Quality Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, assisting professional staff with the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Tara has a BA in Environment, Science, and Policy and International Relations, and a MA in Environment, Science, and Policy from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Since 2007, she has been pursuing a MS in Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.
Nancy Sutley is the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). In her role as Chair, she serves as the principal environmental policy adviser to the President. The Council on Environmental Quality coordinates Federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives. In addition, CEQ oversees Federal agency implementation of the environmental impact assessment process and oversees the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, which works to promote sustainable environmental stewardship throughout the Federal Government.
Prior to her appointment, Sutley was the Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment for the city of Los Angeles, California. She represented Los Angeles on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and served on the California State Water Resources Control Board from 2003- 2005. Sutley also worked for California Governor Gray Davis as Energy Advisor, managing state and federal regulations, legislative affairs, finances, and press relations. She served as Deputy Secretary for policy and intergovernmental relations in the California EPA from 1999-2003. She advised on water and air pollution policy, and established budget and legislative priorities. During the administration of President William J. Clinton, Sutley worked for the EPA as a Senior Policy Advisor to the Regional Administrator in San Francisco and special assistant to the Administrator in Washington, D.C.
Sutley received her Bachelors degree from Cornell University and her Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University.
Dr. Ana Unruh-Cohen is the Democratic Deputy Staff Director of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Prior to her current position, Ana was part of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming for three years, serving first as Senior Policy Advisor, and then as Deputy Staff Director. Ana earned her Bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in 1996, and holds a Ph.D. in Geochemistry from Oxford University. After her doctorate, she accepted a science and technology fellowship through the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which brought her to Capitol Hill. After her fellowship, she became a legislative assistant for Representative Ed Markey (D-MA). Between her time working for Rep. Markey and her tenure on the House Select Committee, Ana was the Director of Environmental Policy at the Center for American Progress, a nonpartisan research and educational institution.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) is a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW), Budget, Judiciary, and Health Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committees. Whitehouse has established a strong record on environmental conservation and protection since he was elected in 2006, and is especially active in addressing global climate change and its threat to ocean and coastal ecosystems. He introduced the National Endowment for the Oceans Act to establish a dedicated funding source for ocean and coastal research and restoration efforts. Whitehouse has also been a champion for coastal and estuarine habitats, successfully fighting to reauthorize the Estuary Restoration Act (ERA) in 2007, leading efforts to secure annual funding for EPA’s National Estuaries Program (NEP), and introducing legislation to reauthorize the NEP in 2010. He has also been a leader in efforts to defend the Clean Air Act, to support the growing renewable energy industry, and to increase environmental and worker safety protections in offshore oil drilling. As chair of the Environment and Public Works Oversight Subcommittee, Senator Whitehouse has examined the Gulf oil spill response efforts, scientific integrity, and threats to native wildlife species.
Representative Lynn Woolsey
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey is a 10th term representative from California’s 6th District, which includes Marin County and most of Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco. Woolsey serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and is ranking member of the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. She also sits on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and its Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment. Her work on this committee focuses on reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels and promoting the use of clean, efficient energy sources. She is also one of Congress’ most visible leaders on issues affecting our oceans. One of her top legislative priorities is her bill that would add the Sonoma coastline to the National Marine Sanctuary Program in order to protect it from oil and gas drilling.