Cochran: Reassess recommended NOAA cuts affecting Gulf Coast states

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran has expressed strong concerns about funding recommendations for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and their “lack of emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico.”

At hearing to review FY2013 budget requests for the Department of Commerce, Cochran challenged recommendations to terminate NOAA research programs that support the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico and industries that rely on healthy Gulf waters.

“I am disturbed by the lack of emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico in this budget. I don’t know of anything that has happened in our country in recent years that is more harmful than the BP oil spill. There is still a lot of public concern about what threats remain to the vitality of fisheries and the general environment of the Gulf of Mexico,” Cochran said at the March 22 Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

“The research programs that we have funded in the past are designed to help keep up with the challenges to the ecological integrity of the Gulf of Mexico. It just seems to me that this research is taking a backseat to a lot of other programs by the administration,” he said. “I appreciate the budget constraints on the Commerce Department, but I am also very concerned about the priorities being set within those constraints.”

Delta Farm Press