Saturday, April 4, 2020
April 4, 2020

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Herrera Beutler seeks aid for fishery disasters

Letter to OMB requests additional funding for declared disasters in state

By , Columbian politics reporter

Members of Congress from the state of Washington are asking the Office of Management and Budget to provide additional funding for declared fishery disasters statewide.

Led by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, and Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Artondale, 10 members of the state’s congressional delegation sent a letter to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday asking him to approve their request for supplemental appropriations, specifically for Washington’s commercial, recreational and tribal fisheries.

The fisheries have been devastated for the last three years not only by natural disaster but persistent algal blooms and a pocket of warm water that is killing fish and birds.

“The rural and tribal fishing dependent communities affected by these disasters are still struggling to recover from the sever economic impacts,” the letter reads.

“However, it is not just the livelihoods of those directly engaged in the fishery that have been threatened. Seafood processors, bait and tackle shops, motels, restaurants, gas stations and a host of small businesses have all felt the impacts of these fisheries closures.”

The funding ask is in addition to $20 million for fisheries disaster assistance approved in September allocated in the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act.

“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,” the letter continues.

“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.”