Ahead of Earth Day, Reps. Carbajal and Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Protect U.S. Coastlines, Promote Ocean Health

House Oceans Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. González-Colón and Rep. Bonamici also join bill to boost research on ocean acidification, which threatens livelihood of tens of thousands in U.S.

Ahead of Earth Day, Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) today introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change on U.S. coastlines, coastal communities, and oceans, as well as the wide range of communities and industries that rely on them.

“The climate crisis threatens all industries and communities, but one of the most acute ways that our nation is already feeling the impacts of climate change is through the rapidly-changing face of our oceans and coastlines. Whether it’s reduced capacity to fish, the erosion of our beaches, worsening storm surges and hurricanes, or devastation of our storied coastlines – coastal communities like mine will see widespread impacts and need support to navigate these challenges,” said Congressman Carbajal. “Ahead of this year’s observance of Earth Day, I’m proud to partner across the aisle with Rep. Fitzpatrick to re-introduce these two critical bills that will help coastal communities navigate the impacts of climate change and promote research on growing threats to our fisheries and all who rely on them.”

“Preserving and improving our country’s oceans, wildlife, and ecosystems is paramount to our future,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to partner with Representative Carbajal on both of these bipartisan pieces of legislation that invest in the protection of our coastal communities.”

House Oceans Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) joined the introduction of legislation of the Ocean Acidification Research Partnership Act, which would authorize up to $5 million in research grants for studies on the effects of ocean acidification, a rapidly worsening climate threat that imperils U.S. fishing and tourism industries.

“Ocean acidification poses a significant threat to our marine, estuarine, and coastal ecosystems, such as our coral reefs in Puerto Rico.  It also hurts important sectors of the U.S. economy, including fishing and ocean-based tourism activities across our nation’s coastal communities.  That’s why I’m proud to support the Ocean Acidification Research Partnership Act, which would authorize NOAA grants for collaborative research projects between the seafood industry and academia to investigate the effects of ocean acidification.  I trust this will further inform our efforts to tackle this important issue,” said Congresswoman González-Colón, Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus.

“Ocean acidification, exacerbated by carbon pollution, is threatening ocean health and coastal communities,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus. “The Ocean Acidification Research Partnership Act will provide dedicated funding to study the effects of ocean acidification on the fishing and tourism industries, which will help them prepare for changing ocean conditions. As Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus, I’m grateful to join my colleagues Reps. Carbajal, Fitzpatrick, and González-Colón to introduce this legislation.”

According to a report released by the United Nations, worsening ocean acidification caused by both runoff-induced nutrient pollution and atmospheric carbon pollution will cost the world economy more than $1 trillion annually by 2100.

Worsening ocean acidification threatens billions of dollars in U.S. economic activity and tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act would provide grants to coastal states in order to help them plan and implement strategies to mitigate climate change, prepare for sea level rise and address other impacts.

The bill allows states to use these grants for climate change adaptation, and to protect infrastructure and coastal ecosystems.

This legislation was advanced out of the House in 2019, but stalled in the Senate.

The text of the Ocean Acidification Research Partnership Act can be found HERE.

The text of the Coastal State Climate Preparedness Act can be found HERE.

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