Cantwell, Bipartisan Group of 25 Senators Demand Robust Funding for National Sea Grant College Program

Grant supports WA shellfish growers, emergency preparedness, and coastal communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U. S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, joined a bipartisan group of 25 senators in calling for the program to be funded – at a minimum – at its current funding level. President Trump proposed eliminating the National Sea Grant College Program from his FY 2018 budget.

In a letter to Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Ranking Member Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.J.) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies, the senators emphasized that the National Sea Grant College Program provides vital supports to local businesses and is a crucial resource in efforts preserve coastal communities.

“We urge you to reject the administration’s proposed elimination of the National Sea Grant College Program… [and] continue to support at least the current funding level of $63 million,” wrote the bipartisan group of senators. “As senators from some of the 33 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.”

A wide variety of businesses and organizations in Washington state depend on the National Sea Grant College Program, including shellfish growing operations in Kitsap, Mason, and Pacific counties and tsunami preparedness projects in Port Angeles.

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

Full text of the letter is available here.