A Blue Front editorial:
Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget includes not only major cuts to NOAA, EPA and other agencies essential to the health of our waters, but also eliminates some key agencies and programs including Sea Grant and the Marine Mammal Commission. These are programs we fought to defend at our Healthy Ocean Capitol Hill Day on May 10 as part of our Blue Vision Summit.
Based on the successful Land Grant college system of 1862 that brought the industrial revolution to American agriculture, Sea Grant, operating in 33 coastal states (including the Great Lakes), provides the kinds of university-based R&D that has helped balance our understanding of coastal and marine ecosystems with the growth of sustainable fishing, sea farming and other ocean dependent industries. From a business point of view getting rid of it doesn’t make sense.
Also, it seems like every consecutive generation is called upon to once again Save the Whales (and Flipper). Donald Trump’s budget would also eliminate the only independent federal agency dedicated solely to protecting our fellow mammals who live and dwell in and on the sea including: whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, sea otters, manatees, walruses and polar bears.
Created in 1972 to oversee the science and effectiveness of the historic Marine Mammal Protection Act, this 45-year old agency has done amazing work to expand our understanding of these awesome creatures through good science while also launching collaborative efforts that have dramatically reduced their deaths from drowning in fishing nets, ship and boat strikes, loss of habitat, noise pollution and other deadly dangers.
With three commissioners, a tiny staff and a budget just over $3 million— less than a penny per year per citizen, —the White House claims that this measure is meant to reduce the size of our 1.1 trillion dollar budget. Eliminating the commission is just returning a favor to the offshore oil industry, irresponsible parts of the fishing industry and others who see whales and dolphins as a hindrance to quick and dirty profits.
Join over 50,000 others and sign the petition to save the Marine Mammal Commission which I wrote and posted with Aaron Viles of Care2.
Tell Senators Richard Shelby and Jeanne Shaheen, the Chair and Ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, and Representatives John Culberson and Jose Serrano of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce to do the right thing and fully fund the Marine Mammal Commission for 2018 and beyond.