Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | August 4, 2008

Attorney Sanders says Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2007 passes House and now on to Senate.

On July 9, 2008, U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4174, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research And Monitoring Act of 2007, by a voice vote. This bill establishes an Interagency Committee on Ocean Acidification to plan and oversee a program to research and monitoring to better understand the potential impacts of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems.

Ocean acidification is the process by which the pH of seawater is being lowered through the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. The oceans have absorbed about half of the CO2 released over the past 200 years due to human activities.

As the oceans become more acidic it will be more difficult for shellfish, corals, and types of plankton to form their structures, like shells and skeletons. Loss of these organisms will affect the entire ocean food web because fish and marine mammals rely upon plankton and shellfish as a food source. This has serious implications for humans as well. Fish and marine organisms provide approximately 15 percent of the world’s protein. Currently, the U.S. is the third largest seafood consumer in the world; costal and marine commercial fishing generates as much as $30 billion per year and roughly 70,000 jobs.

 H.R. 4174, the FOARM Act, was introduced by Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME) on November 14, 2008. This legislation favorably passed the House Science and Technology Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on June 18 and the Full Committee on June 25. Next, this bill will be sent to the Senate for further consideration.

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