Pingree’s Bill to Support Coastal Communities Impacted by Ocean Acidification Passes House
The bipartisan Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act would require NOAA to collaborate with state, local, and tribal government entities on ocean acidification vulnerability assessments, research planning, and information sharing
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today celebrated the passage of her bipartisan Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2023 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, introduced in January by Pingree and Congressman Michael Waltz (R-Fla.), would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support the current efforts of coastal communities, particularly those who are underserved and rural, that are already facing the impacts of ocean acidification and better equip them with the resources to respond.
“Ocean acidification threatens not only our fisheries but the entire blue economy, our marine resources, industries, jobs, and coastal communities like those in Maine,” said Pingree, ranking member of the House Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee. “My bipartisan Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act will address the growing and far-reaching threat of ocean acidification to help ensure that our ocean industries, including fisheries, and the communities that depend on them, are more resilient to our changing oceans. I thank my House colleagues for their strong support and urge Senators to do the same so we can get this important bill to President Biden.”
“Florida’s waterways are essential to our economic growth and prosperity,” said Waltz. “As Floridians, we have experienced firsthand the devastating effects of harmful algal blooms and red tides on our coastal communities. We must work to better understand the connection between ocean acidification and increased toxicity to prevent them moving forward. Today’s passage of this bill brings us one step closer to bolstering collaboration among all stakeholders working to protect Florida’s waterways.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s vote, Pingree delivered remarks on the House floor in support of the bill. Click here to watch her remarks.
“The ocean covers most of our planet, and we must do more to protect its health,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.). “In my home state, ocean acidification is harmful to the Oregon coast, causing negative effects to the shellfish industry, the marine ecosystem, and the cultural and recreational activities that depend on a healthy ocean. I’m grateful that the House passed the bipartisan Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act to build on NOAA’s efforts to address ocean acidification by advancing mitigation and adaptation strategies tailored to each community’s needs. I encourage the Senate to take up this legislation promptly to strengthen stakeholder engagement, improve research on ocean acidification, and help all communities adequately prepare for the changing environment.”
"Any Alaskan can tell you that ocean acidification is having a very real impact on the health of our fisheries, marine mammals, and communities,” said Congresswoman Mary Peltola (D-Alaska). “We see the impacts of changing waters with our own eyes. We know what's at stake -- and are ready to take action. This bill requires NOAA and the Ocean Acidification Advisory Board to collaborate with state, local, and tribal entities--who are already involved in this work--to support local research and climate action plans. This bill is sensible and bipartisan. I'm glad to support it as one part of a broader effort to protect our oceans."
“As Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus, I’m proud to support the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act introduced by Representatives Chellie Pingree and Mike Waltz. This bipartisan bill will enhance NOAA’s collaboration and data sharing with local entities conducting ocean acidification research and mitigation activities across the nation, such as the ongoing efforts in Puerto Rico to develop a regional ocean acidification vulnerability assessment,” said Congresswoman González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico). “Improving collaboration between federal and local partners will be essential to ensure coastal communities have the necessary resources and tools to respond to the increase in ocean acidity and its implications for our marine ecosystems and economy.”
“We know that changing ocean chemistry threatens entire livelihoods and industries in Washington state – so this bipartisan bill is really about jobs,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). “There are generations of folks in our coastal communities who have worked in fishing and shellfish growing, but that’s endangered if we don’t maintain a healthy Pacific Ocean. This bill would help equip Tribes, folks in rural communities, and others living along Washington's coasts with resources to confront ocean acidification. I’m glad to see it pass the House and hope the Senate will move swiftly to consider it.”
Our oceans play a critical role as a natural carbon sink, absorbing around a third of carbon dioxide emissions from human activities each year. As a result, global oceans have become more acidic by approximately 30% since the Industrial Revolution and could experience increases up to 150% by the end of the century—creating challenging growing conditions for marine organisms, particularly those with calcium carbonate shells.
Pingree has introduced legislation to study ocean acidification throughout her congressional tenure. In the 116th Congress, portions of the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2019 passed into law as part of S. 914, the Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act. Most significantly, S. 914 included a provision directing NOAA to conduct an economic vulnerability report every six years to examine gaps in ocean acidification monitoring, including identifying geographic areas, marine resources, and coastal communities that may be impacted.
The Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2023 updates the bill’s remaining provisions to ensure that NOAA collaborates with and supports state, local, and tribal entities who are already conducting ocean acidification activities, such as those playing a critical role in Maine. This bill includes provisions that target NOAA’s support, through improved collaboration and information sharing, to the many coastal communities that are actively working to combat ocean and coastal acidification. In particular, the inclusion of Indian Tribes within the Ocean Acidification Advisory Board ensures the participation and engagement from a comprehensive range of affected stakeholders that are critical to ocean acidification research and mitigation efforts.
The Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2023 would: