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Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act Would Create Blue Carbon; Create Jobs, Reduce Emissions, Protect Millions From Climate Impacts

Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Bill Would Create Blue Carbon; Create Jobs, Reduce Emissions, Protect Millions From Climate Impacts

Infographic Credit:  The Nature Conservancy

The full U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, led by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), will hold a legislative hearing on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 12:00 p.m. (ET) entitled Ocean Climate Action: Solutions to the Climate Crisis.

The hearing will include consideration of Rep. Grijalva’s H.R. 8632, the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act, which was introduced on Oct. 20.

The 324-page package is the first comprehensive legislative effort to fully utilize oceans’ climate mitigation potential.  It addresses the full span of ocean climate issues by creating an ocean-based carbon sequestration program (often referred to as “blue carbon”), providing new funding for shovel-ready coastal restoration and resilience projects, creating a responsible path for offshore wind development, banning dirty and dangerous offshore drilling, and other related efforts.

Among other lawmakers, the bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), who chairs the Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee.

While the bill includes and expands upon several previously introduced smaller measures, much of it is new language. It has been endorsed by a broad range of stakeholders, including Oceana, the Ocean Conservancy, the Center for Biological Diversity, Surfrider Foundation and many others.

Witnesses include:

  • Dr. Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished ProfessorWayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine BiologyOregon State University
  • Dr. Kelsey Leonard, Steering Committee Member, Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean; Enrolled Citizen, Shinnecock Indian Nation
  • Dr. Ray Hilborn, Professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington [minority witness]
  • Dr. Kelly Kryc, Director of Ocean Policy, New England Aquarium

Climate change has caused ocean temperatures to increase by an average of 1.3 degrees Celsius per century from 1900 to 2016, bringing alarming sea level rise, more frequent and intense storms, greater storm surge, “sunny day flooding,” damage to coastal infrastructure, erosion, ocean acidification, coral reef die-off, shifting fish stocks, harmful algal blooms, and other unsustainable phenomena.

About 125 million Americans, or 40 percent of the U.S. population, live in coastal counties that are directly threatened by flooding due to sea level rise and extreme weather, and communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and Indigenous communities are known to be disproportionately impacted by sea level rise and flooding.

When: 12:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live (Facebook) or (YouTube)

The hearing will be on the following bills:

  • H.R. 8632 (Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-AZ) To direct the Secretary of Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide for ocean-based climate solutions to reduce carbon emissions and global warming; to make coastal communities more resilient; and to provide for the conservation and restoration of ocean and coastal habitats, biodiversity, and marine mammal and fish populations; and for other purposes. “Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act”
  • H.R. 3548 (Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR) To improve data collection and monitoring of the Great Lakes, oceans, bays, estuaries, and coasts, and for other purposes. “BLUE GLOBE Act” 
  • H.R. 3919 (Rep. Seth Moulton, D-MA) To require research in coastal sustainability and resilience, to ensure that the Federal Government continues to implement and advance coastal resiliency efforts, and for other purposes. “Creating Opportunity And Sustainability Through Science Act”
  • H.R. 4093 (Rep. Don Beyer, D-VA) To improve the National Oceans and Coastal Security Act, and for other purposes. “National Oceans and Coastal Security Improvements Act of 2019”
  • H.R. 5390 (Rep. Charlie Crist, D-FL) To designate Regional Ocean Partnerships of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and for other purposes. “Regional Ocean Partnership Act”
  • H.R. 5589 (Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-OR) To establish an Interagency Working Group on Coastal Blue Carbon, and for other purposes. “Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act”
  • H.R. 7387 (Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-FL) To require the Secretary of Commerce to establish a grant program to benefit coastal habitats, resiliency, and the economy, and for other purposes. “Shovel-Ready Restoration Grants for Coastlines and Fisheries Act of 2020”
  • HR 8253 (Rep. Don Beyer, D-VA) To amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to require 30 percent of revenues from offshore wind energy to be deposited in the National Oceans and Coastal Security Fund, and for other purposes. “Strengthening Coastal Communities Act”
  • H.R. 8627 (Rep, Anthony Brown, D-MD) To express the sense of Congress that the Chesapeake Bay Office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall be the primary representative of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the Chesapeake Bay, to require the Secretary of the Commerce, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to provide grants supporting research on the conservation, restoration, or management of oysters in estuarine ecosystems, and for other purposes. “Chesapeake Bay Oyster Research Act” 

The hearing will take place via Cisco WebEx online video conference platform and will be livestreamed on Facebook live and YouTube.

It will also be livestreamed (and a video replay link) here.