Cape officials push for Sea Grant program’s survival

Judith McDowell and Bob Rheault were both drawn to Washington this week for the same reason: They wanted to salvage a threatened federal program that plays a key role in Cape Cod’s marine-dependent industries. McDowell, the director of the Woods Hole Sea Grant program, and Rheault, the executive director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association, were hoping to save the national Sea Grant program from elimination. The Washington Post reported last week that the program’s $73 million budget is part of a proposed 18 percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. McDowell said she couldn’t comment on a budget cut she said hadn’t been officially released but was leaked to news organizations. But Rheault, who was making the rounds of congressional offices this week, was highly critical of the proposal to scrap Sea Grant, calling it a “job killer.” His time in D.C. revealed there might be a chance the program, which President Lyndon Johnson created in 1966, could be saved, Rheault said. read the story here 10:41