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Video Recap: In Floor Speech, Pingree Urges House Colleagues to Pass Coastal Protection Bill

The COAST Research Act, Cosponsored by Maine’s First District Congresswoman, Passed the US House with Bipartisan Support

In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) called for the passage of the COAST Research Act, legislation to address the impact of climate change on oceans. H.R. 1147, authored by Congresswoman Bonamici, would expand scientific research and monitoring to improve our understanding of ocean acidification and help coastal communities adapt to the climate crisis. The bill passed the House of Representatives on May 17. 

Pingree’s speech is available for download here. Transcript of the speech is available below.

 Thank you Mr. Speaker, and thank you to the Chair from Texas and to the Ranking Member from Oklahoma, who’ve shown a true willingness to address the impact climate change has had on our oceans, and to Congresswoman Bonamici and Congressman Young for their leadership in ocean and climate issues. 

I rise today in support of her bill, H.R. 1447, the Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act, a bipartisan bill that would expand scientific research and monitoring to improve our understanding of ocean acidification.

Our oceans absorb enormous amounts of carbon dioxide each year. That process is critical for regulating the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. But this comes at a high cost for the oceans and dependent marine life.

Coastal communities produce about 40 percent of our nation’s total jobs and 45 percent of our gross domestic product.

Given those significant numbers, the financial implications will ripple across all American communities if this problem continues to intensify. 

 We are already experiencing these impacts in my home state of Maine. The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans. And it is particularly susceptible to the effects of ocean acidification.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, my state is renowned for its lobster and shellfish. So you can imagine we take this threat seriously. 

Bill Mook, an oyster farmer on Maine’s Damariscotta River, told me that he’s had to adjust operations to mitigate for ocean acidification. Bill and so many growers are worried how future oyster production will be affected when the problem outpaces the adaptations that can be made.

I support the COAST Research Act because it would strengthen investments in ocean acidification research and monitoring, increase our understanding of the socioeconomic effects of ocean acidification, and more.

I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting H.R. 1447 today.

 It is critical that we act to protect our oceans and our coastal economies so they are here for future generations.

 I yield back.

Ocean acidification is linked to an increase in greenhouse gases because oceans partially absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. When carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater, a series of chemical reactions occur, resulting in the increased concentration of hydrogen ions. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the world’s oceans have experienced an approximate 30% increase in their acidity, creating challenging growing conditions for shelled organisms such as oysters and corals.  

As a member of Congress representing a coastal community, Pingree is the author of several bills to address the impacts of climate change on our oceans. The Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act  would direct federal officials to study ocean acidity and deliver a public report on the socioeconomic effects of ocean acidification on coastal communities; the Keep America’s Waterfronts Working Act would preserve the character of coastal communities by creating a grant program and establishing a Working Waterfronts Task Force at the Department of Commerce. 


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