Oceans Subcommittee Chair Begich Comments on Budget
Welcomes Alaska Priorities | Questions Funding Levels for Oceans
As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich released the following statement after initial review of President Obama’s FY 2013 budget:
“It appears this year’s dramatic fuel delivery to Nome got the White House’s attention because the President’s budget provides the U.S. Coast Guard $8 million to plan and design a new sorely needed icebreaker for America’s Arctic. I’ve made this proposal several times in the past three years and it looks like we’re finally but slowly on the path toward new ships. Developing Arctic facilities to advance Arctic oil and gas development, create Alaska jobs and invest in our local communities has always been one of my top priorities and I’m glad the Administration has recognized this need.
“I also fought hard to preserve NOAA’s ability to issue accurate weather predictions by sustaining critical weather satellite funding and I am pleased to see that the budget reflects my efforts. These satellites serve a vital public service by predicting severe weather events to protect public safety and our economy.
“In the Senate Oceans Subcommittee, we’re going to take a good hard look at many of the proposals in this budget, including proposed cuts to parts of the Coast Guard and NOAA including the National Weather Service. It’s important for Congress to find meaningful budget reductions and control spending, but we can’t drop vital programs and services individual Americans and American businesses depend on. For example, the budget properly funds fisheries stock assessments which help promote a sustainable industry and coastal economies.
“I’m pleased the White House has acknowledged there are too many outstanding questions about their proposal to move NOAA to the Department of Interior and declined to include it in this budget. This plan was created behind closed doors and there’s simply not enough information on how a move would impact the services NOAA provides for Congress to begin debating its merits.”