- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Alaska lawmakers are trying to save a program that seeks to protect and strengthen the nation’s coastal communities after President Donald Trump eliminated funding for the program in his budget proposal.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a resolution Tuesday supporting the Sea Grant program. It acknowledges the program plays a vital role in many communities across the country, Alaska’s Energy Desk reported (https://bit.ly/2o4Khjq).

The bipartisan Senate resolution co-authored with Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley comes after Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young signed a letter of support for Sea Grant with members of the House.

The congressman was in Petersburg on Monday when he told a town hall audience the program is a good return on investment.

“The Sea Grant program is dear to my heart,” Young said. “I had the head guy in my office the other day. We’ll continue to fund that. It works.”

Sea Grant helps fund research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and dozens of projects across Alaska. It aims to track the economic vitality of the seafood industry and measure impacts of climate change.

In coming months, Congress will decide how much money Sea Grant will receive for next year.

Trump’s budget slashes funding for the program for the remainder of this year and next year. The budget needs to be approved by the end of April.

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Information from: KTOO-FM, https://www.ktoo.org

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