Murkowski Introduces Bill to Address Ocean Acidification


 WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently introduced the Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2017 to identify and assess communities, including island communities, low-population rural communities, and subsistence communities, that are most dependent on coastal and ocean resources that may be impacted by ocean acidification. This bipartisan bill was introduced with Senators Cantwell (D-WA), Collins (R-ME), Peters (D-MI), and Whitehouse (D-RI).

 “Alaska’s culture and economy thrive on so many resources that come from the ocean. This proactively addresses a very real issue and will help us all gain a deeper understanding of how ocean acidification is affecting our coastal and subsistence communities throughout Alaska,” said Senator Murkowski. “This is significant legislation for those living in a state or community whose livelihood greatly depends on the health of our oceans.”

“At a time when partisanship is at an all-time high, this bipartisan group of Senators have joined together to introduce legislation that would help our nation’s coastal communities better understand and respond to the impacts associated with ocean acidification,” said Sarah Cooley, Director of the Ocean Acidification Program at Ocean Conservancy. “The science is clear: the ocean is becoming acidified. This is a major threat to a variety of ocean resources that coastal communities depend on, and we must rise to the challenge and tackle this problem head-on.”

The Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2017 would conduct coastal community vulnerability assessments related to Ocean Acidification.  The act strengthens collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders including Indigenous Knowledge groups, IOOS, regional Ocean Acidification Networks, and Sea Grants into the planning and implementation of coastal community vulnerability assessments.

The act requires that the assessment identifies: (1) the communities that are most dependent on ocean and coastal resources, (2) the nature of the social and economic vulnerabilities of the communities, and (3) identify the harmful impacts of ocean acidification on those communities.