Keating Leads Discussion on Ocean Acidification Problem

FullSizeRenderWOODS HOLE – A meeting organized by 9th District Congressman Bill Keating brought together fellow lawmakers, marine industry representatives and environmental activists Monday for a round table discussion regarding ocean acidification.

It’s an issue the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said is a result of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, much like climate change. And, they said, it can dissolve shells.

That’s a big problem for the local fish and shellfish industry, not to mention ecology, according to Keating.

“The other takeaway is that the clock is ticking on this,” Keating said. “It’s not a case where it will happen down the road, it is already happening.”

WHOI reports that ocean acidification is happening “30 to 100 times faster than at any time in the last several million years”.

Keating said he wants marine stakeholders, community leaders and the scientific community to come together to implement policy which reflects national best practices when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions and businesses which rely on the ocean.

He also said it is a pressing matter for public health, citing the importance of Cape Cod’s aquifer as an example of a priceless natural resource.

The round table was held inside the Woods Hole Research Center. Its president, Phil Duffy, said he thinks there’s hope for more research funding because such an iconic industry is at risk.

“You doubt the value of environmental regulation? Go to China, take a deep breath, and when you’re done coughing, call me,” Duffy said. “Sometimes, regulation can actually stimulate innovation.”

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