NARRAGANSETT — A proposal to cut $30 million from the national Sea Grant program could mean the demise of Rhode Island Sea Grant as soon as the end of April. Sea Grant officials have issued a “call to action,” urging residents to contact their representatives in Washington and ask them to ensure that the funding, which amounts to $2 million for Rhode Island, will continue.
The cut is one of many proposed by the Trump administration, which aims to cut most domestic programs while boosting the military and paying for a southern border wall.
Denis Nixon, state Sea Grant director, said that the program, which operates out of the University of Rhode Island, had been omitted from the president’s requests for funding in fiscal 2018, which begins Oct. 1. Lobbying efforts in Washington had been planned with that date in mind, but then on March 24, the administration announced that the funding was scheduled to end much sooner, at the end of April.
“As of right now, we’re operating under what’s known as a continuing resolution, so that our ’17 dollars are basically what we got in ’16,” Nixon said. “That lasts for six months, until April 28th, then the Congress has to decide whether or not to pass short-term appropriations bills or do another continuing resolution for the last six months of this fiscal year. We had been led to believe, until Friday afternoon, that because the administration didn’t have that many folks of their own in OMB, that they would just continue with the C.R., so we were focusing on the Oct. 1 deadline for the new budget. But much to our surprise, and that of many other programs, they have taken $30 million out, which is basically the second half of our national funding.” He was referring to the White House Office of Management and…