Federal Budget Cuts:Putting our Coast Last
While our President has promised to keep “America First”, his recommended “budget blueprint”, released on March 15, 2017, puts coastal communities LAST. The federal budget is intended to reflect the values and priorities of the American people, but this proposal only increases risks to the security of coastal homes, coastal jobs and coastal communities.
The budget blueprint details discretional funding priorities recommended by the President. It is the beginning of a complicated process during which the administration will work with members of Congress and federal agencies to negotiate where US funds will be allocated. Overall, the budget blueprint proposes drastic cut to non-defense related programs upon which coastal Georgians depend.
For a fact sheet with more information, click here.
Specifically, the budget blueprint:
Endangers the health and safety of visitors and residents who explore our coastal beaches and communities.
- Eliminates the US Environmental Protection (US EPA) beach monitoring program, threatening the safety of Georgia’s coastal visitors and our $2 billion coastal tourism industry.
- Eliminates National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) funds to assist local coastal readiness and response to rising seas.
- Eliminates the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s coastal flooding map effort and flood insurance subsidy program that help protect citizens for severe weather events.
Decimates local jobs and businesses upon which coastal Georgia economies are built
and eliminates federal support for producing knowledge and understanding of our coast.
- “Zeros out” NOAA funds critical for coastal and marine management, research and education. These funds matched by state and local dollars resulting in hundreds of direct and indirect jobs throughout Georgia’s coast.
- This broad elimination includes loss of federal funds for the Georgia Sea Grant and Marine Extension (MAREX), Georgia’s Coastal Management Program, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Gray’s Reef Marine Sanctuary.
Forces state and local governments to shoulder regulatory enforcement that safeguard our citizens from environmental hazards and disasters.
- Slashes by 31% enforcement of the US Clean Water Act and the US Clean Air Acts that safeguard against toxic chemicals actively and passively released into our environment.
- Cuts in half programs to clean up superfund sites (abandoned areas still polluted with toxic material) affecting 22 areas in Chatham County and 9 in Glynn County.
Endangers our wildlife and fisheries.
- Cuts funding for state agencies to lead a robust sea turtle stranding network, conduct aerial surveys of birthing North Atlantic right whales, and identify endangered loggerhead sea turtles who continue to use the same Georgia beaches generation after generation.
- Eliminates funds for regional coordination of conservation and management of nearshore fish species, as well as funds for sport fish restoration efforts, increased boating access and boater education and outreach.
What does this mean:
Federal funds, when matched with state and local funds support many people and businesses throughout the Georgia coast. Without federal funding…
- … Georgia’s beach monitoring program will be discontinued, risking the safety of all who recreate on our beaches and the $2 billion coastal tourism industry built around the safe access.
- … Georgia’s shellfish industry will suffer. NOAA funds have helped develop appropriate methods to raise and harvest shellfish, clams and oysters. Without this research, many businesses will not have the tools needed to sell our signature oysters and other coastal delicacies to restaurants and others.
- … Citizens will be forced to pay more for necessary flood insurance and will not have access to important information regarding increased flooding and extreme weather events. The Federal Emergency Management System (FEMA) flood mapping project and financial assistance to reduce flood insurance premiums will be eliminated.
- … People will lose jobs. Because the federal funding matches local and state funding for important programs, in some instances up to 75%, the loss of the federal funding will result in job loss. Many areas of our coast cannot afford to lose the important economic driver many of these program offer the communities in which they operate.
What can be done:
The complicated process to establish the federal budget should not deter those who love Georgia’s coast from expressing outrage at the unacceptable impact the budget blueprint will have on our coast and or lives. Make a call today:
- Call Senator Isakson at 202.224.3643
- Call Senator Perdue at 202.224.3521
- Call Congressman Buddy Carter at 202.225.5831
- Tell them of the value the federal funds bring to supporting our coast;
- Share a personal experience or your involvement in a federally funded program;
- Express how important it is that they champion Georgia’s coastal communities by fighting for continued federal funding for:
- Coastal and marine management, research and education through NOAA,
- Beach monitoring and enforcement through EPA, and
- Disaster relief and flood mapping through FEMA.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFORMATION!