Proposed legislation would halt new oil, gas leasing in OCS

A proposed Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020, introduced in the U.S. House on Tuesday, Oct. 20, would prohibit new oil and gas leasing in the Outer Continental Shelf, including the Arctic Ocean.

The legislation by Representatives Raul M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Kathy Castor, D-Fla., chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, has over a dozen co-sponsors.

“A healthy ocean is key to fighting the climate crisis,” Grijalva said. “This bill provides a roadmap for ocean and coastal climate resilience, and responsibly uses them to curb the pollution that is intensifying the climate crisis. We must stop the ongoing damage to our oceans to protect the food, jobs and coastlines that millions of Americans depend on.”

The bill includes development and implementation of strategies to improve management of fisheries in a changing climate, and promotion of U.S. seafood sourced from environmentally, climate-friendly fisheries. It also would address ocean health challenges of ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms, both of which cause significant harm to the U.S. seafood, recreation and tourism industries, as well as human communities and ocean wildlife and ecosystems, plus the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in carbon storage in blue carbon ecosystems.