U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) at a local event. Collins and Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) have sent a letter to the Trump administration arguing against proposed cuts to the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

NOAA budget cuts opposed

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) have sent a bipartisan letter to the Trump administration urging reconsideration of proposed cuts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that would disproportionately affect coastal states like Maine. Their letter was cosigned by four bipartisan senators, including U.S. Sen. Angus King (I-Maine).

The proposed cuts that reportedly will be included in the first budget from the Trump administration would sharply reduce research funding and satellite programs at NOAA and eliminate funding for a variety of smaller programs, including external research, coastal management, estuary reserves and coastal resilience.

“NOAA plays a vital role in advancing our understanding and stewardship of America’s oceans. Through its many programs and offices, NOAA provides crucial research and support for our commercial fisheries as well as marine life conservation programs,” the senators wrote. “Annual stock assessments and monitoring programs help to maintain sustainable practices and ensure long-term production of seafood in the U.S.”

“We know that the administration faces difficult choices as it prioritizes federal resources,” the senators continued. “However, the president has identified national security and job creation as two of his key priorities, and pursuing drastic cuts to NOAA would increase vulnerability to atmospheric, environmental and coastal hazards, and decrease support for job creation, running directly counter to those goals.”

In addition to King, Collins and Hirono’s letter was co-signed by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

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