In recent years, millions of larval oysters in Northwest hatcheries have died because the water has become too corrosive for them to form their shells. Washington could be the first state in the country to introduce legislation to deal with the economic and environmental threats posed by ocean acidification.
Before leaving office, former governor Chris Gregoire convened a panel to come up with recommendations for dealing with the threats of ocean acidification.
The panel released a report calling on the state to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce polluted runoff. It also recommended funding for public outreach, research and help for shellfish farmers.
Senator Kevin Ranker is a democrat who represents the San Juan Islands.
“Now we need a body that can holistically look at statewide issues of ocean acidification and implement the recommendations to address those issues so that report doesn’t just sit on a shelf,” Ranker says.
Ranker has just introduced a bipartisan bill to put the recommendations of Gregoire’s panel into action. The first step would be to create an advisory council that would include representatives from tribes, governmental agencies and officials from coastal counties and cities in Washington state.
Senator Ranker’s bill is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday.
Ashley Ahearn, Northwest Public Radio, 8 February 2013. Article and audio.