Issue Date: June 23, 2008
Bill Would Require Ocean Ph Monitoring
The U.S. government would monitor acidity of the world's oceans under a bill adopted by a House subcommittee last week. As CO2 emissions from human activities rise, the oceans are absorbing more of the gas from the atmosphere, causing the pH of the water to decline. "Ocean acidification poses a threat to many marine organisms and ocean ecosystems. It reduces the ability of shellfish and corals to form their shells and skeletons," explains Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas), chairman of the House Science & Technology Subcommittee on Energy & Environment. On June 18, Lampson's panel unanimously approved a bill, H.R. 4174, to establish an interagency program to monitor acidification of oceans. The legislation directs federal scientists to study the chemical, biological, and physical impacts of acidification on marine organisms and ecosystems. The Science & Technology Committee expects to vote this summer on the measure, which has bipartisan support. The Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee approved a similar measure (S. 1581) in May.
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