House Democrats fear fossil fuels harming oceans

Citing rising ocean acidity that they say poses a grave threat to marine life, House Democrats backed a resolution Wednesday calling for a national policy to address the problem.

Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who sponsored the resolution, said the long-term threat of “ocean acidification” is perhaps greater than the immediate crisis posed by the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

More than a quarter of the carbon dioxide released during the burning of oil and coal ends up in the oceans, raising acid levels to the point where it can dissolve shells, as scientists have found it is already doing in some waters off California, he said.

Rep. Sam Farr, a Democrat from Carmel, said the ocean’s chemistry is changing “faster than ever before” as carbon-based fuels are burned.

“As species like shellfish and corals find it harder to adapt, they and the fish that depend on them will begin to disappear,” said Farr, one of 53 co-sponsors of the resolution.

Peter Urban, The Californian, 10 June 2010. Full article.

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