Ocean Conservancy: Stop cuts to NOAA

Ocean Conservancy: Stop cuts to NOAA

There are proposals in the House to significantly cut funding to NOAA for the remainder of this year. These cuts would have serious implications for our oceans, coasts and fisheries, and also impact jobs in every state and congressional district. Ocean Conservancy is urging funding to remain at current levels. As someone who cares about coastal and ocean resources, your help is vital in this effort.

As early as Today, the House of Representatives will debate H.R. 1, the Full Year Continuing Resolution (CR), to fund federal departments, agencies, and programs through Sept. 30, 2011. The budget outlined by the proposed House bill would reduce funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) by $1.2 billion (22%) from the President's Budget for 2011.

Ocean Conservancy urges you, as someone who cares about the coasts and ocean, to contact your members of the U.S. House of Representatives today, Tuesday February 15. Please use all available means - personal contact, telephone, fax, email - to convey the following message:

·   Cutting NOAA's funding will cost needed jobs and life-saving services in Representatives' Districts.  Budget cuts should not come at the cost of jobs and programs that keep Americans safer while giving businesses information they need to thrive.

·   NOAA promotes a healthy ocean and economy.  With half of Americans living on our coasts, our economy depends on a healthy ocean and coastlines.

·   The U.S. cannot afford to cut our ability to prepare for natural disasters. NOAA is America's first line of defense, with weather stations across the country alerting citizens to coming hurricanes, tornados, floods, and drought.

·   We need NOAA's eyes and ears when disaster does strike. When disasters like oil spills and tsunamis happen, we rely on information from NOAA to make better decisions about how to respond.

·   Cuts to NOAA put public and private jobs on the chopping block. Potential closing of weather forecast offices, lack of support for university researchers, loss of jobs in the technology sector from satellite delays could lead to immediate loss of jobs. Weather-sensitive industries need NOAA's information to reliably conduct business

·   We urge you to undue these damaging cuts before HR 1 becomes law.

Key Facts:

National Weather Service Forecasts and Warnings: At least one-third of US GDP is concentrated in weather-sensitive industries.  Reduced funding could result in a break in satellite coverage and the closure of up to 12 forecast offices, leaving 30 million Americans without detailed forecasts and warnings on which they rely daily.

Coastal Communities: Over half of people in the US reside in coastal areas, and billions of dollars of commercial and recreational activity depend on healthy oceans and coasts. Reduced observations and modeling could increase vulnerability to sea level rise, storm surge, and harmful algal blooms and limit or eliminate beach and shellfish safety warnings.

Fisheries Management: Recovery of overfished stocks, which over the past decade has produced $2.1 billion in income and $5 billion in sales, could be jeopardized. Rebuilding all overfished stocks would generate $31 billion in sales impacts and support 500,000 jobs. Elimination of external grant programs and cooperative research could cause numerous job losses.

Search and Rescue: Potential loss of life due to longer searches for distressed vessels. NOAA supplies the Coast Guard with environmental and oceanographic data including real-time, high-frequency radar information on ocean currents.  This information allows search efforts to be concentrated in areas up to 66% smaller than would otherwise be covered and increases the probability of rescue.