Legislation would invest in oceans research

Bipartisan maritime legislation introduced in the U.S. House on Feb. 14 would restore funding for research and monitoring of changing ocean conditions that lapsed in 2012.

The Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act reauthorizes the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation through 2023.

The research will help coastal communities better understand and cope with effects of environmental stressors to oceans and estuaries.

Absorption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the ocean is changing water chemistry, impacting more than three million blue economy jobs in the United States that rely on the ocean, said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, who introduced bill on Feb. 14 with Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR; Chellie Pingree, D-ME, and Bill Posey, R-FL. Bonamici and Young co-chair the House Oceans Caucus, a bipartisan group of House members committed to protecting the health and future of oceans.

Young said the legislation would strengthen investment in research and monitoring of acidification on oceans and estuaries and increase understanding of the economic effects of ocean acidification and coastal acidification in estuaries.

The bill is endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, IOOS (Integrated Ocean Observing Systems) Association, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems.