Senators back Sea Grant funding amid budget cuts

Courtesy of Sea Grant: Maryland 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both-D-Md.) joined 21 other senators in urging President Trump to fund the National Sea Grant College Program at no less than current levels. In a letter to President Trump, the senators highlighted the important role Sea Grant Programs play in boosting local economies and preserving coastal communities.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a critical source of funding for Maryland’s Sea Grant College at the University of Maryland, College Park. Maryland Sea Grant projects have produced significant results that aided fishers, businesses, policy makers, and conservation volunteers in Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay region.

Since FY 14, Maryland has received over $1.5 million annually from the National Sea Grant College Program. President Trump’s FY 2018 budget proposal would eliminate the program and this funding entirely. Senator Cardin, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, have both urged full funding for this program.

“We urge you to fund the National Sea Grant College Program at no less than current levels. Sea Grant is vital to local businesses and an important part of preserving coastal communities for generations to come,” the senators wrote. “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. We encourage you to provide robust support for the program in your final Fiscal Year 2019 budget.”

In addition to Cardin and Van Hollen, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) signed the letter.

For the full text of the letter, click here. 

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