At the end of last week, U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., brought back his proposal fighting coastal acidification.
The House passed Posey’s “National Estuaries and Acidification Research (NEAR) Act” on a voice vote in June 2019. U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Oreg. and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, R-Fla., who lead the Congressional Estuary Caucus with Posey, were co-sponsors. Other backers in the House included U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, R-Fla.
The bill “directs the Ocean Studies Board of National Academies to conduct a two-year study examining the science of ocean acidification and its impact on our estuaries” and will, Posey’s office insisted, “create a better understanding of coastal acidification so we can better manage and mitigate its effects on our nation’s estuaries and other natural treasures.” The bill funds the study with $1 million. But the bill did not garner any momentum in the U.S. Senate.
Now Posey has brought the proposal back with the support of Bonamici and Mast.
“Estuaries are some of most diverse ecosystems in the country, and because estuaries are places where freshwater mixes with salt water from the oceans, preserving this delicate balance is necessary but also challenging,” said Posey on Friday. “This critical legislation will help protect our estuaries by ensuring that we continue to study and monitor the effects of coastal acidification, and I would like to thank Representatives Bonamici and Mast for their work on this issue and their important leadership in our bipartisan estuary caucus.”
“As co-chair of the Congressional Estuary Caucus, I know that estuaries are on the frontlines of the climate crisis and essential to the economic vitality and environmental integrity of Oregon,” said Bonamici. “By absorbing carbon dioxide and polluted runoff, our estuaries are becoming more acidic. Unfortunately, research has not kept pace with the needs of coastal communities to fully understand the ecological and socioeconomic consequences. This legislation will address the research gap and help preserve our nation’s estuaries.”
“On the Treasure Coast and in the Palm Beaches, we’ve seen what happens when estuaries are left to die—businesses are forced to close, animals are killed, and people get sick. That cannot be allowed to happen, so this legislation is critical, and it’ll go a long way toward protecting marine life and promoting healthier communities,” said Mast.
Posey’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology and the Natural Resources Committees on Friday. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.