Thank you, Chairwoman Fletcher, for holding this markup today. Before I begin my statement, I want to welcome the newest member of our subcommittee, Congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón. As Puerto Rico’s only representative in Congress, she brings a unique perspective to our subcommittee, especially on ocean acidification, the topic of today’s legislation. I look forward to working with her as a member of this subcommittee.
While Kansas may be far from our nation’s coastlines, discussing the impact of our climate on the country’s resources is of top importance to our farmers and producers both in Kansas as well as across the country. As a grandfather as well as an avid outdoorsman, I believe that we need to leave this world better than we found it for the next generation, and I hope that the legislation we will be discussing today will bring us one step closer to finding innovative solutions to the challenge of ocean acidification.
In 2009, Congress first passed the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, which was intended to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) better understand the effects of ocean acidification on the ocean environment. This law created the Interagency Working Group on Ocean Acidification, which is made up of 14 different agencies and institutions to coordinate research and resource management related to ocean acidification.
Despite their efforts, we learned in a hearing hosted by this subcommittee in February that there is still more that we can do to address the causes and impacts of the changing ocean chemistry, especially as it pertains to coastal regions.
The measures today have been offered by a bipartisan group of Members representing coastal districts most impacted by ocean acidification. Whether through better coordination across federal agencies or though expansion and improvements to existing programs, these bills modify the way that we approach changes to marine ecosystems.
The earth’s oceans are always in a state of evolution and the steps we’re taking today can improve the sustainability and overall health of our ecosystems, while still encouraging innovative approaches to addressing these fluctuations.
I thank my colleagues for their leadership in addressing this issue and encourage the Members of this subcommittee to support these bills.