Congressional Pig Book Flags $65M for Pacific Salmon Recovery Fund, a 333.3% Increase

By Gavi Greenspan | August 1, 2018 | 10:24am EDT
U.S. wild-caught coho salmon. (Photo: NOAA website)

( – The recently released 2018 Congressional Pig Book, a compendium of pork barrel spending produced by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste, exposes 232 earmarks in Fiscal Year 2018, an increase of 42.3 percent from the 163 in FY 2017.

Among those earmarks is a 333.3% increase in funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF), inserted into a FY 2018 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

The Trump administration proposed eliminating funding for the salmon recovery fund in its Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal.

However, as noted by CAGW, the $65,000,000 for Pacific coastal salmon recovery is a 333.3 percent increase from the $15 million last earmarked in FY 2015, and it is the largest earmark ever for this purpose.

According to CAGW:

The Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund (PCSRF) was established by Congress in FY 2000 to “reverse the declines of Pacific salmon and steelhead, supporting conservation efforts in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska.”

Both President Trump’s FY 2018 and FY 2019 Major Savings and Reforms (budget) recommended eliminating funding for the PCSRF. Elimination of the fund would allow the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration “to better target remaining resources to core missions and services.”

The budget also noted that programs like the PCSRF favor state, local, and/or industry interests, are “not optimally targeted … favor certain species and geographic areas over others,” and do not direct funds to programs and projects that have “the greatest need or potential benefit.”

Senate Appropriations Committee member Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has routinely pressed for increased funding for the PCSRF. A July 27, 2017 press release from Sen. Murray stated that she successfully secured $65 million for the program in the FY 2018 CJS bill.

In that 2017 press release, Murray said, “Restoring salmon runs is critically important not only to jobs and our state’s economy, but also for tribal treaty rights and our state’s cultural heritage. I’m encouraged that my Senate colleagues joined me today to reject President Trump’s harmful proposal, which would only to serve to roll back the progress we’ve made in recent years to create healthy salmon habitats and protect this vital resource.”

The projects in the 2018 Congressional Pig Book Summary symbolize the most blatant examples of pork. They must meet at least one of CAGW’s seven criteria, but most of them satisfy at least two of the following:

-- Requested by only one chamber of Congress;

-- Not specifically authorized;

-- Not competitively awarded;

-- Not requested by the President;

-- Greatly exceeds the President’s budget request or the previous year’s funding;

-- Not the subject of congressional hearings; or,

-- Serves only a local or special interest.

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