Governors of California, Oregon and Washington Urge President Bush to Provide Critical Funding to Fishing Families and Businesses
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oregon Governor Theodore Kulongoski and Washington Governor Christine Gregoire sent a joint letter to President George Bush today expressing strong opposition to the Administration's proposal to remove $70 million in emergency disaster assistance for fishing families, communities and businesses impacted by the closure of the salmon season, and they urged President Bush to reconsider his opposition to helping these families in need.
In May, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez declared
a commercial fishery failure following a
letter sent by Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor
Gregoire and Governor Kulongoski in March requesting such an
action. The declaration made California, Oregon and
Washington eligible for federal funding under the
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act.
In April, the Governor also sent a letter to President Bush requesting his help in obtaining federal disaster assistance and declared a state of emergency in California-directing numerous state agencies and departments to take various actions to help those affected by the closure of the salmon season.
Full text of the letter:
June 17, 2008
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write in opposition of your Administration's proposal to remove $70 million from the funding directed to fishing families, communities, and businesses that depend upon salmon fishing in our states. The collapse of this year's salmon season will cause an estimated $290 million economic loss to California, Oregon, and Washington, causing a tremendous financial burden on fishing families in a time of rising prices and economic uncertainty.
Mr. President, we disagree with your Administration's assessment that these funds constitute "lower-priority federal programs and excess funds." We believe that it should be a high federal priority to provide the $70 million of needed assistance to fishing families, communities, and businesses that depend upon salmon fishing, instead of directing this amount to fix the underestimated cost of the 2010 census.
The emergency disaster assistance for fishing families, communities, and businesses has been thoroughly considered by Congress and repeatedly supported. These funds are desperately needed and timing is critical. We urge you to reconsider this effort to reduce and redirect this much needed disaster assistance funding. We urge you to instead stand with fishing families and communities who rely on this industry for their livelihood.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Theodore R.
Kulongoski Christine O. Gregoire
Governor of California Governor of Oregon Governor of Washington
cc: Members of the California Congressional Delegation
Members of the Oregon Congressional Delegation
Members of the Washington Congressional Delegation