Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Hearing - H.R. 4174, the "Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act"
Dr. Richard A. Feely
Supervisory Chemical Oceanographer, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Dr. Joan Kleypas
Scientist, Institute for the Study of Society and Environment, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Dr. Scott Doney
Senior Scientist, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Dr. Ken Caldeira
Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science of Washington
Mr. Brad Warren
Director, Productive Oceans Partnership Program, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
SUBCOMMITTEE EVALUATES OCEAN ACIDIFICATION LEGISLATION
WASHINGTON D.C. - June 5, 2008 – The Subcommittee on Energy and Environment today held a hearing to evaluate H.R. 4174, the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, sponsored by Rep. Tom Allen (D-ME), and also to examine the current status of science on acidification and research and monitoring activities focused on its potential impacts on marine organisms and marine ecosystems.
“As the climate change debate continues, it is essential for us to focus not only on atmospheric effects, but on the oceanic implications as well, understanding that the ocean holds tremendously valuable resources for our economy and environment,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Bob Inglis (R-SC). “As we move forward, I would hope that our research agenda reflects the fact that this is an international issue and encourages our scientists to work with their colleagues overseas.”
Witnesses at the hearing unanimously expressed concern over the prospects of wide-spread ocean acidification, but also noted that there is still a lot that is unknown about both the extent of the phenomenon and its possible impacts.
Representing the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Dr. Richard Feely, summed up the issue, saying, “Results from laboratory, field and modeling studies, as well as evidence from the geological record, clearly indicate that marine ecosystems are highly susceptible to the increases in oceanic CO2 and the corresponding decreases in pH.” He continued, “Ocean acidification is an emerging scientific issue and much research is needed before all of the ecosystems responses are well understood.”
Reflecting on his first-hand experience observing the effects of acidification on the coral reefs of Australia, Ranking Member Inglis expressed his support for more research. Further, he expressed his willingness to take the suggestions of today’s witnesses on how to improve H.R. 4174 and try to incorporate them into the legislation as it moves forward.
Also testifying at today’s hearing were: Dr. Joan Kleypas, Scientist, Institute for the Study of Society and Environment, National Center for Atmospheric Research; Dr. Scott Doney, Senior Scientist, Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Dr. Ken Caldeira, Scientist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science of Washington.; and Mr. Brad Warren, Director, Productive Oceans Partnership Program, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.