By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It almost sounds like yet another foreign terror plot, a plan to force 80,000 of us out of work and torpedo $2 billion in economic activity.

But in this case, to hear a bi-partisan cross-section of our state’s political leaders tell it, the “terrorists” are domestic – federal bureaucrats from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

Attorney General Martha Coakley has filed suit in federal court to stop NOAA from imposing deep reductions in the amount of fish Massachusetts fishermen are allowed to catch, cuts Coakley calls a “death penalty” for the state’s fishing industry.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Our political establishment is united on this one, but their emphatic protests against NOAA policies to the Commerce Department, the White House and the agency itself have essentially been ignored.

NOAA claims its mandate that New England fisherman cut their intake of popular types of fish like cod and haddock by up to 78% is needed to protect the fish populations from overfishing. Coakley’s lawsuit claims the dictate is overbearing and based on faulty science.

And of course, there’s a political subtext here.

You may recall that the head of NOAA had to apologize to fisherman here after it came out that the agency was essentially shaking them down for dubious fines and using the money for sketchy purposes. Some say these new regulations are payback, and even Coakley, who usually is very circumspect, says she’s also skeptical of their motives.

This is all very bad business, and Gov. Patrick, our congressional delegation, and the attorney general should demand a satisfactory response from the president.

Foreign terror is bad enough; we shouldn’t have to play defense against attacks from our own government.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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