WASHINGTON – Despite President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Sea Grant College Program from his FY2018 budget, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, released a statement on Thursday after he led a bipartisan effort to secure $65 million – $2 million above FY2017 levels – for the program. The program is a critical source of funding for Connecticut’s Sea Grant College Program at UConn Avery Point, which provides vital support to local businesses and is a crucial resource in efforts to preserve Connecticut’s coastal communities. Murphy also helped secure $15 million – a $5.7 million increase from FY2017 levels – for aquaculture initiatives within Fisheries Management Programs and Services, as well as an additional $11 million – $2 million about FY2017 levels – for the Marine Aquaculture Program.
The funding passed the Appropriations Committee as part of the FY2018 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. While there are a number of important wins for Connecticut in the bill, Murphy remains concerned that the overall bill does not provide enough funding. He favors a higher funding level and will continue pushing for more resources as the appropriations process continues.
“We fought Trump’s efforts to gut UConn’s Sea Grant program, and we’re coming out on top. Funding the Sea Grant program is not only the right thing to do for our environment, but it’s also the right thing to do for our economy. The folks over at Connecticut Sea Grant are growing our knowledge base about ocean health and coastal ecosystems, and they’re creating jobs in the process. I’ll always have their back,” said Murphy. “But the overall bill we voted on today doesn’t do enough to fund programs that preserve and protect our environment. As this bill moves forward, I will fight for more money.”
Earlier this month, Murphy visited Connecticut Sea Grant to hear firsthand from fishermen, shellfish growers, students, and researchers about the important role of the program. Murphy has called on Trump to restore the funding and vowed to fight cuts to the program.