A bill introduced by Congressman Derek Kilmer would encourage federal agencies to contribute more funding to ocean acidification research.
Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat, introduced the legislation with fellow Washington state Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Camas. The Ocean Acidification Innovation Act wouldn’t provide and new funding sources for the research, but instead encourage agencies, such as the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, to funnel existing funding into ocean acidification research.
Scientists from universities and private groups would submit research proposals. Winning proposals would be awarded prizes to carry out research.
Ocean acidification is the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the water, which increases the ocean’s acidity. That’s bad news for sea creatures, such as shellfish. Thousands of jobs statewide, including the Grays Harbor area, depend on the shellfish industry.
“Ocean acidification poses a threat to our coastal communities and to key industries in our state,” Kilmer said. “Changes to the ocean chemistry are putting entire livelihoods at risk while endangering the chance for future generations to grow up in a state still connected to a healthy Pacific Ocean.”