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house Bill H.R. 1237

Should the Feds Resume Funding for Interagency Collaboration to Address Ocean Acidification?

Argument in favor

Ocean acidification poses a major threat to communities, industries and the environment. Resuming federal funding for interagency collaboration to address this challenge is critical, as ocean acidification’s impact on fisheries and the environment is already being felt.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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06/05/2019
Danny, the money hasn’t been allocated, we’re talking millions not trillions and you won’t need your Social Security if we don’t get to work on the Climate Crisis. You’ll note this is as of much concern to industry as it is to environmentalists. Nothing, is more important than taking care of this planet. FracturedGhast7 I believe you misunderstand the other bill. It runs 2019-2029 and deals with estuarine environments exclusively, so no surprise it’s sponsored by a Floridian up for re-election. They are extremely concerned with how to deal with red tide and brackish water problems. It has nothing to do with the ocean as a whole. Drew the US once had a successful rare earth mineral mining program in the north. Right off the top of my head I can’t recall the state. We sold the company to a Chinese corporation. All other attempts at rare earth mining in the US have gone belly up with Mollycon filing for backruptcy in 2015. Really all China would need to do is stop all trade to the US in rare earth metals to end all trade wars. We’d be dead in the water.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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06/05/2019
Like seafood or at least the money it brings in? Do the work to protect it.
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John's Opinion
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06/05/2019
Ocean acidification leads to bleaching and death of coral reefs. Without coral reefs we lose entire ocean ecosystems that populate the seas with fish, crustaceans, and other multitudes of marine life. We rely on science to fix problems, many of which seem to be manmade these days. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Science can hopefully tell us what NOT to do, as well as interventions to put in place.
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Argument opposed

There are already numerous research efforts on ocean acidification underway by industry, universities and other organizations. Rather than wasting the federal government’s money on yet more interagency working groups, it’d be better to directly fund those existing efforts.

SneakyPete's Opinion
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06/05/2019
A Waste Of Money 💰 ...... Many Duplicating Programs On Going. There are already numerous research efforts on ocean acidification underway by industry, universities and other organizations. Rather than wasting the federal government’s money on yet more interagency working groups, it’d be better to directly fund those existing efforts. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻 Nope 👎🏻👎🏻. 6.5.19.....
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FracturedGhast7's Opinion
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06/05/2019
Although it’s very important to study these things, there is already another bill similar to this called the National Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act of 2019, which will allow for research to continue on ocean acidification for two years. This bill would be a waste if the other one passes, but this is really the only reason I am voting nay for this bill, as it isn’t needed.
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JTJ's Opinion
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06/06/2019
No, the US can do nothing about the jerks on the other side of the world who are polluting the ocean. Cut spending.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Environment
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedFebruary 14th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 1237?

This bill — the Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act — would reauthorize Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), for which funding lapsed in 2012, through 2023.

Additionally, this bill would:

  • Expand the definition of ocean acidification to include estuaries and include a definition of coastal acidification to recognize mechanisms that cause changes in coastal chemistry;
  • Expand the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification’s strategic research plan to also address ocean and coastal acidification’s socioeconomic impacts and assess adaptation and mitigation strategies;
  • Establish a 21-member Advisory Board to advise the Interagency Working Group on ocean acidification and coastal acidification research and monitoring activities; and
  • Direct the NOAA to establish a data archive system that processes, stores, archives and provides access to ocean and coastal acidification research data from federally-funded research and research from state and local agencies, tribes, academic scientists, citizen scientists and industry organizations. This system would incorporate existing global or national data assets, including the National Centers for Environmental Information and the Integrated Ocean Observing System.

The 21-member Advisory Board would include representatives from the shellfish and crab industry, finfish industry, seafood processors, recreational fishing, academia, nongovernmental organizations, state, local, and tribal governments and regional coastal acidification networks.

Impact

Oceans; estuaries; ocean acidification; coastal acidification; ocean acidification research; coastal acidification research; shellfish and crab industry; finfish industry; seafood processors; recreational fishing; academia; NGOs in ocean acidification; NGOs in coastal acidification; NOAA; NSF; Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification; National Centers for Environmental Information; and the Integrated Ocean Observing System.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1237

$253.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $253 million over the 2019-2029 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to strengthen federal investments in research and monitoring of changing ocean conditions in order to help coastal communities better understand and cope with environmental stressors’ effects on oceans and estuaries:

“Our oceans and estuaries face immediate threats from increasing carbon emissions. As oceans and estuaries absorb carbon dioxide produced by human activity, the waters become more acidic, destabilizing fisheries and threatening the future of coastal communities and ecosystems. The COAST Research Act will help strengthen research to better understand coastal and ocean acidification and give communities the tools they need to adapt and mitigate.”

When she introduced this bill in the 115th Congress, Rep. Bonamici said:

“The health of our oceans reflects the health of our planet. As our oceans, coastal estuaries, and waterways absorb carbon dioxide, they become more acidic and less hospitable for fish, organisms, and wildlife. These changes threaten fisheries, the economic future of coastal communities, and ocean and coastal ecosystems. We must invest in research to better understand ocean and coastal acidification and give affected communities the tools they need to adapt and mitigate the effects.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Don Young (R-AK) notes that ocean acidification is an ongoing threat to his constituents in Alaska:

“Healthy oceans and waterways are essential to maintaining strong coastal communities and providing for a robust marine economy. Ocean acidification is an ongoing threat that must be tackled head-on if we are to ensure a bright economic future for Alaskans whose jobs depend on healthy oceans. Our legislation makes critical investments to assist scientists in their understanding of ocean acidification and equips our coastal communities with the tools necessary to mitigate its devastating effects. I am grateful to Congresswoman Bonamici for her leadership on this issue, and I look forward to working with the rest of the bipartisan Oceans Caucus on other matters affecting our oceans.”

The Ocean Conservancy is one of a number of organizations that support this bill. In a press release, the director of its Ocean Acidification Program, Sarah Cooley, says:

“Americans depend on a healthy ocean. With evidence of changing ocean chemistry, it is critical that we support our best scientists to monitor and research ocean acidification. Millions of jobs and livelihoods, cultures and ways of life, from the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry to Florida’s coral reef tourism, depend on this work. Ocean Conservancy is proud to support this legislation, and thanks Reps. Bonamici, Young, Pingree, and Posey for working to secure federal government investments in ocean acidification research for another five years. This forward-thinking COAST Research Act will help communities better prepare for the potential effects from ocean and coastal acidification.”

Margaret Pilaro, Executive Director of the West Coast Shellfish Growers Association, testified on ocean acidification to the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee’s Environment Subcommittee. In her testimony, she noted ocean acidification’s adverse effects on shellfish aquaculture:

“Shellfish aquaculture produces nearly $300 million in annual sales and employs thousands of people in mainly rural, economically depressed counties. In 2007, two of the three largest shellfish hatcheries along the West Coast witnessed 70-85 percent mortality of oyster larvae because of acidifying water. Now we realize that the ocean’s ability to store carbon dioxide is impacting the species that live within it and the people who depend on those species. We need the federal government to rise to the challenge of climate change and increase research into ocean health issues that affect our economies.”

In the current Congress, this bill has passed the House Science, Space and Technology Committee by a voice vote with the support of 48 bipartisan cosponsors, including 41 Democrats and seven Republicans. Last Congress, it had 18 bipartisan cosponsors, including 13 Democrats and five Republicans, and didn’t receive a committee vote.

This bill is endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, IOOS Association, Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems. It was also crafted with input from the Ocean Conservancy, Restore America’s Estuaries, researchers at Oregon State University, Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership.


Of NoteThe Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act (FORAM), passed in 2009, constitutes a federally-funded coordinated response to ocean acidification across federal agencies. Under FORAM, U.S. federal scientific agencies coordinate their efforts to understand, track and address ocean acidification and the federal government funds laboratory studies in this area. The Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, comprised of 14 federal agencies whose work touches ocean acidification issues, was established to meet FORAM’s congressional mandate.

Rep. Bonamici’s office notes that changing ocean chemistry threatens jobs in coastal communities and affects fisheries, shellfish farmers, and seafood and shellfish supplies and prices. According to Rep. Bonamici’s office, “blue economy” jobs that rely on the ocean contribute at least $352 billion to the economy each year; and these jobs are threatened by inadequate management of ocean conditions.

The Ocean Conservancy reports that ocean acidification has already begun affecting shellfish growers and fishery harvests. Paired with other ocean stressors, including ocean heat waves, sea level rise, sea ice loss and reduce ocean oxygen levels, this is putting oceans’ and coastal communities’ futures at risk. The Union of Concerned Scientists observes that the Pacific Northwest’s Dungeness crab population — the highest-revenue fishery in Oregon and Washington — has been reduced by warming waters and ocean acidification; and Northwest fisheries are seeing multimillion-dollar losses due to toxic algal blooms building up in shellfish’s bodies and forcing West Coast fisheries to shut down.

In testimony to the House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment on February 27, 2019, Dr. Sarah Cooley, Director of the Ocean Acidification Program at the Ocean Conservancy, noted the magnitude of the threat ocean acidification poses:

“Ocean acidification is an invisible but growing threat to the world’s oceans. Time-series measurements show clearly that the dissolved carbon dioxide concentration of surface ocean water is rising at the same pace as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (Figure 1). When carbon dioxide dissolves in water, carbonic acid is created, which is gradually lowering the pH of seawater and altering other chemical balances important for marine life. We are already seeing the effects of ocean acidification. In the mid-2000s, widespread death of larval shellfish at hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States alerted the aquaculture industry to a major region-wide problem. In partnership with federal and university researchers, the industry identified the problem as ocean acidification caused by fossil fuel emissions dissolved in Pacific Ocean water that upwelled to the surface decades earlier than previously anticipated… Since then, laboratory studies… have shown that ocean acidification has an array of effects on marine species, and the effects are difficult to generalize. Global studies have determined with high confidence that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide causes ocean acidification, and that acidification decreases the calcification rate of many organisms with hard shells and skeletons. Corals grow more slowly under acidification and are less able to recover from breakage or loss from heat-driven bleaching or disease. Many animals that sustain lucrative fisheries, such as oysters and crabs like Dungeness, red King, and Tanner crabs, are more sensitive at earlier life stages, and acidification causes them to grow more slowly and allows fewer to survive to adulthood. Ocean acidification changes the behavior of some fishes and sharks, impairing their ability to find prey or avoid predators. Some models suggest acidification will generally reduce fish biomass and catch. [O]cean acidification can stimulate growth and primary production in seagrasses and some phytoplankton. Although increased plankton growth can provide benefits to marine ecosystems, some fast growing species can out-compete others and cause harmful algal blooms. Emerging evidence suggests that harmful algal blooms could become more frequent or toxic in response to acidification. While it is unclear exactly how ocean acidification’s impacts will propagate through ocean ecosystems and food webs, there is no question that complex interactions will occur among ocean acidification and other stressors… Overall, ocean acidification may disrupt important benefits that ocean systems and resources provide to human communities. Coral reef-associated fisheries and tourism are at risk, as well as coastal communities protected from storm waves by corals. Some studies suggest ocean acidification will alter the market qualities of fishery harvests.”

In her testimony, Dr. Cooley also noted the development of “an active community” dedicated to identifying, testing and sharing opportunities to act on ocean acidification which includes industry (e.g., shellfish hatchery owners), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), university and federal researchers, resource managers and more.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / SolStock)

AKA

COAST Research Act of 2019

Official Title

To amend the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 to establish an Ocean Acidification Advisory Board, to expand and improve the research on Ocean Acidification and Coastal Acidification, to establish and maintain a data archive system for Ocean Acidification data and Coastal Acidification data, and for other purposes.

    Danny, the money hasn’t been allocated, we’re talking millions not trillions and you won’t need your Social Security if we don’t get to work on the Climate Crisis. You’ll note this is as of much concern to industry as it is to environmentalists. Nothing, is more important than taking care of this planet. FracturedGhast7 I believe you misunderstand the other bill. It runs 2019-2029 and deals with estuarine environments exclusively, so no surprise it’s sponsored by a Floridian up for re-election. They are extremely concerned with how to deal with red tide and brackish water problems. It has nothing to do with the ocean as a whole. Drew the US once had a successful rare earth mineral mining program in the north. Right off the top of my head I can’t recall the state. We sold the company to a Chinese corporation. All other attempts at rare earth mining in the US have gone belly up with Mollycon filing for backruptcy in 2015. Really all China would need to do is stop all trade to the US in rare earth metals to end all trade wars. We’d be dead in the water.
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    A Waste Of Money 💰 ...... Many Duplicating Programs On Going. There are already numerous research efforts on ocean acidification underway by industry, universities and other organizations. Rather than wasting the federal government’s money on yet more interagency working groups, it’d be better to directly fund those existing efforts. SneakyPete..... 👎🏻👎🏻 Nope 👎🏻👎🏻. 6.5.19.....
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    Like seafood or at least the money it brings in? Do the work to protect it.
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    Ocean acidification leads to bleaching and death of coral reefs. Without coral reefs we lose entire ocean ecosystems that populate the seas with fish, crustaceans, and other multitudes of marine life. We rely on science to fix problems, many of which seem to be manmade these days. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Science can hopefully tell us what NOT to do, as well as interventions to put in place.
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    The Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act, the funding was let lapse by the Republican Party to appeasements of corporate America. Just like the republicans administration proposal to rollback America’s Clean Car Standards, which help cause acidification. Get rid of the tax cut the republicans president have put in place, pass and present, and put back the write off for truckers and the middle class!
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    Climate change and the underlying science is real. Oceans are the life blood of our finite fragile planet and the major factor driving climate change which effects global watershed resources, food supplies as well as all human, animal and plant life. Sure there are other studies. Gathering these and new studies in a Congressionally sponsored program will help to focus resources on those areas where we take actions to protect food supplies and the planet’s biosphere; Hopefully to begin recovery from the damage already done.
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    And clean up the plastics they find.
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    We humans has done so much damage to the planet, if we don’t do something, we leave destruction and despair to the children.
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    It’s good business
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    Yes I fully support and what most people do not realize is that plankton produce up to 70 percent of the oxygen we breath and if the reef and plankton are unable to produce the calcium shell and body structure due to high acidity levels in ocean water
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    We ignore changes in Earth at our children’s peril
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    Although it’s very important to study these things, there is already another bill similar to this called the National Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act of 2019, which will allow for research to continue on ocean acidification for two years. This bill would be a waste if the other one passes, but this is really the only reason I am voting nay for this bill, as it isn’t needed.
    Like (7)
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    You are finally going to address this issue? It's about freaking time. Stop, stopping ANY & ALL Programs that are Environmentally Friendly!
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    We have to protect our oceans
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    Absolutely, why was it stopped to begin with? If something happened to our oceans we wouldn't be able to survive!
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    Ocean acidification is the direct result of Carbon gas build up in our atmosphere. Acidification is an enormous threat to the entire oceanic food chain. It kills phytoplankton (the source of 50% of our Oxygen) and the primary food of krill, which are also being killed as their shells are dissolved by acidity. Soon clams, oysters, crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans could become extremely rare as acidity dissolved their shells as well. There are already huge areas of our oceans which a growing dead zones, void of life. Ocean acidification is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of the direst consequences. It is an ontological threat to all oceanic life forms and to our own continued survival as well.
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    Yes absolutely!!!!!
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    If the ocean dies then so does everything else.
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    Yes to HR 1237 Suzanne Bonamici requires your support. Interagency Collaboration! Respect the Science! Save the Ocean and our Planet. Generations of People are at risk. Prove you Care! Prove what matters!
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    WE NEED TO FIND OUT HOW OUR COAST IS BEING ERODED BY RISING SEA WATERS FROM THE MELTING OF THE ICE CAPS, AND ALSO FIND OUT HOW TO CURB THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF FISH FARMS AND THEIR POLLUTION OF OUR OCEANS THIS BILL WAS INTRODUCED BY A DEMOCRAT, SO I TRUST IT!
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