It's nearly summer which means our nation's beach economy will soon be cranking at full capacity. From the seaside towns of Maine to the coral sand beaches of Hawaii, millions of people will visit the coast to enjoy sunshine, sea breezes, and salt water. In the process, they'll boost our nation's ocean recreation and tourism economy valued at over $100 billion per year.
Unfortunately, many of our federal leaders in Washington D.C. haven't gotten the message. The Trump administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 that would slash funding for National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by over $1 billion, effectively crippling the lead federal agency tasked with ocean and coastal management. Among the programs to be completely eliminated are Coastal Management, National Estuarine Research Reserves, the Marine Mammal Commission, Coastal Resilience, Sea Grant, and Climate Research.
This week, the House of Representatives released their version of NOAA's budget and the results are much better, if still far from perfect. The House budget restores level funding for most ocean and coastal management programs left out of the President's budget. Unfortunately, the House budget still fails to provide climate change funding, despite the enormous implications for our ocean and coasts (not to mention humans and the rest of the planet). This means support for climate change research and coastal resilience to help communities respond to sea level rise and ocean acidification is still in serious jeopardy.
So now we once again rely on our Senators to ensure that both coastal management and climate change programs are adequately funded for 2019. Last year, the Senate rescued NOAA from enormous budget cuts during the FY 2018 appropriations process, and their leadership is needed this year too to protect our nation's greatest resources from an out of touch administration.
Please join Surfrider in asking your Senators to oppose debilitating cuts to NOAA that are included in the President’s Budget for FY 2019. Complete this action alert or call your Senate offices to tell your federal leaders that a healthy coast and ocean is important to you!