Today the Center for Biological Diversity has filed the first-ever US law suit addressing ocean acidification. The Center is suing the EPA and administrator Lisa Jackson over their failure to recognize the effects of ocean acidification in water off the coast of Washington State. The case is a test of whether the Clean Water Act covers carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
"'Ocean acidification is global warming's evil twin,' said Miyoko Sakashita, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity's oceans program. 'The EPA has a duty under the Clean Water Act to protect our nation's waters from pollution, and today, CO2 is one of the biggest threats to our ocean waters.'
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, seeks to compel EPA to amend Washington's impaired waters list to include anyocean waters that are failing to attain water quality standards as a result of ocean acidification.
The Clean Water Act requires states to identify as impaired those water bodies failing to meet federal water quality standards. The Act also requires the EPA to oversee the states' impaired waters lists, approve or disapprove state-submitted lists, and add any waters failing to attain water quality standards to the impaired list when those waters are omitted by a state.
On August 15, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a letter formally requesting that Washington include ocean waters in its jurisdiction on the list of impaired waters due to ocean acidification, backed by numerous peer-reviewed reports on ocean acidification from scientific journals.
Yet, Washington's draft list failed to mention ocean acidification."