Friday, March 12, 2010

EPA Considers How States Can Address Ocean Acidification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced a legal settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity to address a framework for requiring states to list coastal waters as impaired by rising acidity under the Clean Water Act. Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (consideredglobal warming's evil twin). The changing chemistry of the waters affects many types of sea life, but especially anything that grows a shell or hard covering. Some scientists believe it is likely to blame for die-offs in Northwest oyster stocks over the past several years.

Protection of the nation's water quality, including the health of our ocean waters, is among EPA's highest priorities. The agency is interested in learning more about how to protect our ocean and coastal waters from acidification. In the settlement agreement, the EPA agreed to take public comment on the increasing acidity of oceans, on ways states can determine if their coastal waters are affected, and on how states can limit pollutants that cause the problem. (Washington Examiner, 3/11/10)

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