Kilmer, Herrera Beutler, Urge Inclusion of Fisheries Funds in Administration’s Disaster Relief Request

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Yesterday, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) led a bipartisan letter urging the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to develop a supplemental funding request to address the multiple fishery disaster declarations that have impacted Washington State’s commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries.

In their letter, addressed to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, the lawmakers said: “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. 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.”

Since 2014, the region’s fisheries have been devastated by multiple natural disasters including persistent harmful algal blooms and a devastating pocket of warm water, known as “the blob,” which has been attributed to devastating fish and bird die-offs, whale strandings and other environmental consequences.

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. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, commercial and recreational fishing supports an estimated 16,374 jobs and $540 million in personal income.

This funding request seeks to build on the $20 million the lawmakers secured when the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Act in September.

A copy of the letter is available for download here.