A friend brought this legislation, HR 146, the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, to our attention today. It’s something all US citizens can take immediate action on, to support funding for research on ocean acidification and more.

The bill will most likely be coming back before the House of Representatives this week. It needs only a simple majority to pass.

We urge you, if you’re not already familiar with the bill, to learn more at:

At the bottom of this email is the helpful summary our contact provided.

The immediate action you can take is contact your Congressperson, whether via email or preferably phone, and ask them to vote in favor of HR 146, the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act. Sorry, we’re not yet set up to provide you with a ready-made form; however, you can find contact information for your representative here.

The bill contains many items (hence the title “Omnibus,” we’re guessing), but of especial interest to us is the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 (FOARAM), which:

  • Defines “ocean acidification,” for this Act, as the decrease in pH of the Earth’s oceans and changes in ocean chemistry caused by chemical inputs from the atmosphere, including carbon dioxide. 
  • Requires the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology of the National Science and Technology Council to develop a strategic plan for federal ocean acidification research and monitoring that provides for an assessment of ocean acidification impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems and the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies to conserve marine organisms and ecosystems. 
  • Directs the Secretary of Commerce to conduct research and monitoring and authorizes the Secretary to establish an ocean acidification program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) consistent with the strategic research plan, including: (1) providing grants for critical research projects exploring the effects of ocean acidification on ecosystems and the socioeconomic impacts of increased ocean acidification; and (2) incorporating a competitive merit-based process for awarding grants that may be conducted jointly with other participating agencies or under the National Oceanographic Partnership Program. 
  • Requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) director to continue to carry out ocean acidification research supporting competitive, merit-based, peer-reviewed proposals for research and monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts. 
  • Requires the administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ensure that space-based monitoring assets are used in as productive a manner as possible for monitoring of ocean acidification and its impacts.

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