Capps, Farr, Inslee urge EPA to take more active role in addressing ocean acidification

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) was joined by her colleagues Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) and 41 other Members of Congress in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing their concerns about the effects of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems and coastal communities. The letter urges the EPA to play a more active role in addressing ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.

Scientists have warned that ocean acidification – a process whereby increased levels of carbon dioxide are absorbed in the ocean, causing seawater to become more acidic – will have devastating consequences for marine ecosystems, specifically for carbonate-forming species such as coral reefs, shellfish, and marine plankton that are the backbone of our nation’s commercial and recreational fishing industries.

The letter was sent in response to the EPA’s published notice soliciting public comments on how to address ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. Capps and her colleagues argued that issuing guidance would be an effective strategy to guide states in monitoring and assessing the potential impacts of ocean acidification and to determine when coastal and marine waters qualify as threatened or impaired under the Clean Water Act.

“The science is clear. Carbon dioxide emissions are causing ocean acidification to progress at an unprecedented rate. It’s causing irreparable damage to marine ecosystems and has the potential to devastate coastal communities like the ones I represent along California’s Central Coast,” said Capps. “I’m glad the EPA is considering using the tools in the Clean Water Act to stop the pollution causing ocean acidification and to improve water quality standards and monitoring. This important action by the EPA will preserve our health, economy, and environment.”

Congresswoman Lois Capps, 25 May 2010. Full article and letter.

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