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A Voice for Our Ocean

Statement: New Ocean Acidification Research Legislation Introduced To Protect America’s Estuaries

Bipartisan introduction of the NEAR Act reflects new Congress’ approach on environment

WASHINGTON, DC – Today U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (R-FL-8), Brian Mast (R-FL-18), and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-1) introduced H.R. 988, the National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act (NEAR Act), to provide for a study by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Science examining the impact of ocean acidification and other stressors on American estuaries and nearshore waters. The following statement was issued by Sarah Cooley, Director of Ocean Conservancy’s Ocean Acidification Program:

“Healthy communities go hand-in-hand with healthy estuaries. Ocean acidification poses a threat to the jobs and livelihoods, cultures and ways of life of America’s coastal residents, from the Pacific Northwest’s shellfish industry to Florida’s coral reef tourism.

“In introducing this important legislation, Representatives Bill Posey, Brian Mast, and Suzanne Bonamici have taken an important step forward in helping coastal communities deal with these challenges and better protect our nation’s estuaries. Ocean Conservancy thanks them for working across the aisle in championing this bill and protecting the estuaries that people depend on for food, jobs, and recreation.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  • Estuaries filter sediments and pollutants out before river water reaches the ocean.
  • Healthy estuaries are a critical economic and recreational driver in coastal communities across the country. Estuaries contribute $320 billion to our nation’s GDP through transportation, recreation, tourism and other port activities and provide habitat for more than 75% of commercially caught fish in the United States.
  • In 1972, Congress created the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) to protect a system of estuaries that represent the range of coastal estuarine habitats in the U.S. and its territories. Additionally, in 1987, Congress created the National Estuary Program (NEP) to protect and restore the water quality and ecological integrity of estuaries of national significance. More recently, in early 2017, the Congressional Estuary Caucus, which includes Representatives Posey and Bonamici as co-chairs, was founded to help educate leaders at all levels of government about the importance of estuaries, and ensure that we sustain the robust support for proven programs that work to confront the mutual troubles of U.S. estuaries.

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