(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) attended the Senate Budget Committee hearing on President Obama’s FY13 Budget Proposal. At the hearing, the Senator questioned Jeffrey Zients, acting director and deputy director for management for the OMB, about the overall priorities in the budget. In questions submitted for the record, the Senator voiced concerns over a provision in the budget that calls for the consolidation of the Northwest and Southwest fisheries regions into a single West Coast region. Murray asked Zients about the justification for this decision, which could have a profound impact on Washington state fisheries.
“NOAA fisheries’ work in the Northwest is critical to our economy, environment, and our culture,” Senator Murray said in questions she submitted for the record. “So while details are scarce for this proposal, I have some significant concerns, and will be interested in receiving a greater degree of detail on this effort.”
Senator Murray also expressed concern that the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) was cut by over 23 percent in the President’s Budget, which would be a major blow to salmon restoration efforts across the West Coast. The Senator expressed her belief that this critical program, which has a strong track record of success, must have adequate funding to continue its work.
PCSRF was established by Congress in fiscal year 2000 to protect, restore and conserve Pacific salmon populations and their habitats, and to address the impacts of the Pacific Salmon Treaty Agreement between the United States and Canada. PCSRF supports the conservation and recovery of Pacific salmon across the rivers, watersheds and coastal habitats they thrive in across Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada, and California. Since its inception, PCSRF has supported 8,000 projects restoring 700,000 acres of salmon and steelhead habitat and opening 4,400 miles of streams to fish passage.