Some see clean water act settlement opening new path to GHG curbs

U.S. EPA settled a lawsuit yesterday by agreeing to use the Clean Water Act to address ocean acidification, a move that some see as opening a side door to federal curbs on greenhouse gases that scientists link to problems in the marine environment.

The settlement with the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity directly addresses EPA’s failure to require Washington state to list its marine waters as impaired by rising acidity. The deal requires EPA to begin a rulemaking aimed at helping states identify and address acidic coastal waters.

The effort could lead to the first Clean Water Act effort to protect acidifying marine waters — a move the center sees leading to restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions, just as the water law led to regulation of air emissions of mercury and pollution that causes acid rain.

Allison Winter, The New York Times, 12 March 2010. Full article.

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Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

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