04.25.18

Peters, Bipartisan Group of Senators Call for Full Funding For National Sea Grant College Program

Trump Administration Proposed Eliminating the National Sea Grant College Program in FY 2019 Budget

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) joined a bipartisan group of 26 Senators in calling for strong funding for the National Sea Grant College Program following President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the program. In a letter to Chairman Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, the Senators emphasized that the National Sea Grant College Program provides critical support to local businesses, students and shoreline communities.

“As senators from some of the states with Sea Grant programs, we see firsthand how this federal investment is leveraged locally to bring immense returns to coastal communities, fishermen, universities, and students,” wrote the Senators. “Any cuts to this funding would have a devastating impact and we strongly urge you to reject any proposals to reduce this program.”

In Michigan, the Sea Grant program works cooperatively with the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The program has created or sustained 101 Michigan businesses and produced over $6.85 million in economic benefits.

Peters was joined in the in signing the letter by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

The Honorable Jerry Moran                                                        The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen

Chairman                                                                                         Ranking Member

Commerce, Justice, Science and                                                  Commerce, Justice, Science and

Related Agencies Subcommittee                                                 Related Agencies Subcommittee

Senate Appropriations Committee                                             Senate Appropriations Committee

Washington, DC  20510                                                                Washington, DC  20510 

Dear Chairman Moran and Ranking Member Shaheen:

As you work to draft the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, we urge you to reject the administration’s proposed elimination of the National Sea Grant College base program. We are grateful that the committee included an increase for this program in FY 2018, particularly as the increase was given in a challenging budget environment. For FY 2019, we continue to support at least the current funding level of $65 million for Sea Grant. Furthermore, we are aware that the Sea Grant Association has recommended $73 million in funding to carry out their important work.

As senators from some of the states with Sea Grant programs, we see firsthand how this federal investment is leveraged locally to bring immense returns to coastal communities, fishermen, universities, and students.  Any cuts to this funding would have a devastating impact and we strongly urge you to reject any proposals to reduce this program.

Sea Grant’s work supporting waterfront and maritime businesses speaks for itself. The federal investment in Sea Grant centers yields $611 million in economic benefit, an 825% return on federal investment. This economic impact includes creating and sustaining 1,300 local businesses and 7,100 jobs. In 2016, Sea Grant has helped 19,900 fishers adopt sustainable fishing practices and trained 2,002 people in safe seafood handling methods.

Sea Grant staff also assist communities with projects to become more resilient and preserve coastline habitat. In 2016, Sea Grant staff helped 300 communities improve coastal resiliency, aided 494 communities in adopting sustainable development practices, and supported 4,600 resource managers in using ecosystem-based management strategies. They also helped preserve or protect 1,400,000 acres of wildlife habitat.

Finally, Sea Grant is helping to educate the next generation of freshwater and marine scientists. Last year, Sea Grant programs reached 781,000 K-12 students and in 2016 Sea Grant supported over 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

Sea Grant is vital to local businesses and an important part of preserving coastal communities for generations to come. We continue to support robust funding for Sea Grant at a minimum of the current funding level of $65 million and acknowledge the recommendations of up to $73 million in funding.

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