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Washington–Before the Trump administration is expected to unveil its Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined with 22 senators to call on President Trump to not cut funding for the National Sea Grant College Program. In a letter to the president, the senators highlighted the important role the program play in boosting local economies and preserving coastal communities.

“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 Feinstein, 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.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), 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.

Full text of the letter follows:

January 31, 2018

President Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump:

As you work to complete your final Fiscal Year 2019 budget, we urge you to fund the National Sea Grant College Program at no less than current levels. The National Sea Grant College Program is a federal-local partnership that funds 33 university-based research, extension, and education centers. These centers are results-driven and provide vital resources to local businesses and communities in our states.

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 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 encourage you to provide robust support for the program in your final Fiscal Year 2019 budget.

Sincerely,

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