WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) has introduced a bill that would require federal officials to study the effects of ocean acidification on coastal communities in Maine and around the country.
The bill is similar to legislation which Pingree, who represent’s Maine’s 1st Congressional District, sponsored in the previous Congress and now has bipartisan and bicoastal support.
“Rising sea levels and warming ocean temperatures are some of the effects of climate change that we’re all pretty familiar with, but the threat that ocean acidification poses to our commercial fisheries is every bit as real,” Pingree said in a written statement. “It’s time we start paying more attention and getting the information we need to understand the potential impacts on our coastal communities.”
Earlier this year, a special commission set up by the Maine Legislature reported that “for Maine and its commercial fisheries, addressing ocean acidification has become an urgent matter” and called for comprehensive research on the impacts of increased acidity along the coast.
Pingree introduced the bill with Florida Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan.
“This bipartisan bill will help protect America’s coastlines through further research into the potentially devastating effects of ocean acidification,” said Buchanan. “Our Gulf Coast communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean environment.”
Pingree’s bill would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the socioeconomic impacts of ocean acidification on coastal communities. The Secretary of Commerce would be required to conduct studies to identify which communities are most dependent on ocean resources and how acidification would affect them if valuable industries such as the lobster fishery were impacted.