Legislation would help coastal communities cope with ocean and coastal acidification
(From The Press Office of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici)
WASHINGTON, DC [02/14/19] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Congressman Don Young (R-AK), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), and Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) introduced the bipartisan Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act.
The COAST Research Act will strengthen federal investments in research and monitoring of changing ocean conditions. This research will help coastal communities better understand and cope with the effects of environmental stressors on our oceans and estuaries.
About one third of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the ocean, causing water chemistry to change. Changing ocean conditions affect the more than 3 million blue economy jobs in the United States that rely on the ocean. These jobs contribute at least $352 billion to the economy every year.
The COAST Research Act reauthorizes the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) through 2023. The authorization for this important funding lapsed in 2012. The legislation would:
- Strengthen investment in research and monitoring of acidification on oceans and estuaries;
- Increase our understanding of the economic effects of ocean acidification and coastal acidification in estuaries;
- Engage stakeholders, including the commercial fishing industry, researchers, and community leaders through an Advisory Board;
- Provide for the long-term stewardship and standardization of data on ocean acidification from different sources, including the National Centers for Environmental Information and the Integrated Ocean Observing System; and
- Recognize the effects of ocean acidification on estuaries as well as oceans.
The bill has been endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, IOOS Association, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems. In addition, Bonamici crafted the legislation with input from Ocean Conservancy, Restore America’s Estuaries, researchers at Oregon State University, Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.