Washington Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler and Derek Kilmer led an effort of a bipartisan letter that urges the Office of Management and Budget to develop a supplemental funding request that addresses the multiple fishery disaster declarations to impact the state’s recreational, commercial and tribal fisheries.
“As we continue to assist those who have been so severely impacted by our unprecedented national disasters, we must not forget those who have suffered no less under previous disaster declarations,” the letter addressed to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, states. “We strongly urge you to work with these communities to ascertain and fully address the unmet economic damages caused by these past disasters as an additional supplemental request is developed.”
According to a press release, the region’s fisheries have been impacted by multiple natural disasters since 2014. Those include algae blooms and the blob — a pocket of warm water that has been credited for fish and bird die-offs, whale strandings and other environmental ramifications.
“These natural disasters have caused severe economic hardship in Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and California, where the lives and livelihoods of local communities depend on the health of these fisheries,” states the release.
Information provided by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife states commercial and recreational fishing supports an estimated 16,374 jobs and $540 million in personal incomes.
The funding request looks to increase the $20 million lawmakers secured when the House of Representatives passed HR 3354, the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Act” in September.
The full text of the letter can be found online at kilmer.house.gov. Eight other members of Congress signed the letter.