House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva, D-Ariz., has unveiled his Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act along with his co-lead, House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor, D-Fla., original cosponsors and a range of bill endorsers.
The landmark legislation was introduced by more than a dozen members of the House of Representatives to address the ocean impacts of climate change and reform federal ocean management to better account for climate mitigation.
“A healthy ocean is key to fighting the climate crisis,” says Grijalva. “This bill provides a roadmap for ocean and coastal climate resilience, and responsibly uses them to curb the pollution that is intensifying the climate crisis. We must stop the ongoing damage to our oceans to protect the food, jobs and coastlines that millions of Americans depend on. A healthy ocean is an environmental justice issue and we made sure to put protections for low income and communities of color at the front and center.”
Among other features, the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act:
- Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The bill supports the transition to a clean energy economy by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with ocean sectors and increasing ocean-based renewable energy – helping the U.S. move away from fossil fuels and protect the ocean and coastal habitats that are important to healthy fish, marine wildlife and coastal economies.
- Increases Carbon Storage in Blue Carbon Ecosystems. The bill recognizes the carbon storage potential and other co-benefits provided by ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems like salt marshes, seagrasses and mangroves. These ecosystems absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and safely store it at a rate of up to four times that of forests on land. They also protect coastal communities by limiting the impacts of coastal erosion, flooding and storms – all while providing habitat for marine wildlife and fisheries.
- Promotes Coastal Resiliency and Adaptation to protect coasts and communities from the climate impacts they can’t avoid. It authorizes investment in coastal restoration and resilience that is a win-win-win for the economy, frontline communities and the environment.
- Improves Ocean Protection by promoting and protecting healthy ocean systems and wildlife populations, which are better able to adapt to the effects of climate change. Marine protected areas are a key part of protecting biodiversity while tackling climate change – which is more critical than ever in the face of the biodiversity crisis.
- Tackles Ocean Health Challenges by addressing the ocean health challenges of ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms, both of which cause significant harm to the U.S. seafood, recreation and tourism industries, as well as human communities and ocean wildlife and ecosystems.
“On behalf of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), our thanks go to House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Grijalva; Water, Oceans & Wildlife Subcommittee Chairman Huffman; and Energy & Minerals Subcommittee Chairman Lowenthal for their work to help our country harness the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA.
“The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act will help blow the wind into the sails of the American offshore wind industry, setting national offshore wind goals of 12.5 GW on the outer continental shelf by 2025 and 25 GW by 2030. AWEA expects 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030 will produce 83,000 jobs and $25 billion in annual economic output – this act will go a long way in realizing those benefits. We look forward to continuing to work with these and other leaders on this important legislation.”
Original cosponsors of the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act include House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), Rep. Gregorio Sablan (D-CNMI), Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii), Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) and Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.).
The recorded livestream of the press conference can be viewed here.
Bill text of the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act is available here.