Statement: U.S. House passes first bipartisan legislation in a decade to combat ocean acidification

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed four bills that further our nation’s fight against ocean acidification. Following today’s passage of these bills, Sarah Cooley, Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Acidification Program, issued the following statement:

“Today’s vote shows that leaders on both sides of the aisle remain committed to protecting coastal communities. Their decision recognizes the importance of federal investments to research, monitor and prepare for the impacts of ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification damages our ocean and the communities that rely on it. As our ocean absorbs carbon dioxide pollution from the atmosphere, chemical reactions occur that gradually increase ocean acidity. We first felt its effects in the mid-2000’s when more acidified water caused Pacific Northwest oyster farmers to suffer drastic losses and go nearly bankrupt. Scientists later identified the threat acidification poses to other industries and the people who rely on them, including the $1 billion-dollar lobster industry in the northeast and the coral reef tourism industry of Florida. Without action, ocean acidification could devastate communities, cultures and millions of jobs all across the nation.

We’ve learned a lot about ocean acidification and how to protect the communities it impacts over the past ten years of federal investments in ocean acidification science. But we can’t stop now. The legislation the House passed today will build upon a solid foundation of ocean acidification research in the open ocean, expand our knowledge of acidification’s effects in estuaries and the coastal zone, and incentivize innovation to help us better understand and respond to this threat.

While we celebrate this milestone, we call on the Senate to immediately take up these bipartisan bills and pass them into law. We must continue to take action for the health of our ocean and the communities that rely on it.”

Sarah Cooley, 5 June 2019, Ocean Conservancy. Article.

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