Ocean acidification report vote delayed

AUGUSTA — The commission studying the impacts of ocean acidification on the state’s commercial fisheries is asking legislative leaders for permission to meet one more time before issuing the final version of its report.

The Legislature established the mellifluously named Commission to Study the Effects of Coastal and Ocean Acidification and Its Existing and Potential Effects on Species That Are Commercially Harvested and Grown along the Maine Coast on April 30. The authorizing legislation called for the commission to deliver its final report to the Marine Resources Committee by Dec. 5.

The 16-member commission was scheduled to vote on a draft version of the report at what was slated to be its final meeting on Nov. 10. Instead, said staff person Curtis Bentley, the commissioners will ask the Legislature’s Legislative Council for authority to meet once more, at the beginning of December, to review proposed changes to the draft and vote on a final version.

The Legislative Council is the administrative body for the legislative branch of state government. Among its responsibilities, the council provides nonpartisan staff support services to legislative commissions. The council doesn’t meet until Nov. 25.

“I don’t think there will be any problem,” Bentley said.

The 22-page draft report reflects considerable work on the commissioners’ part but, according to Bentley, “there are still some substantive things that will be altered.”

Bentley said most of the changes involved language incorporating information from Meredith White, a scientist at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay and from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Bentley did not anticipate that the commission would be delayed in filing its final report with the Marine Resources Committee.

Stephen Rappaport, The Ellsworth American, 24 November 2014. Article.

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