Bonamici Introduces Bipartisan Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act
WASHINGTON, DC [04/22/21] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) recognized Earth Day by reintroducing her bipartisan Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act.
The bipartisan legislation leverages the power of our ocean and estuaries to help mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. It will strengthen federal research on blue carbon and take steps to protect and restore coastal blue carbon ecosystems. Blue carbon ecosystems are a powerful tool for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, with mangroves, tidal marshes, seagrasses, and other kelp forests capable of storing carbon dioxide in their stems, branches, leaves, roots, and soils for centuries to millennia.
“Our ocean and coastal ecosystems are often overlooked and undervalued, but they are among the world’s most productive working ecosystems and can help in our work to solve the climate crisis,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must act now to capture the great power of our coastal ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it. The bipartisan Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act recognizes the potential of this natural climate solution by mapping, protecting, and restoring coastal blue carbon ecosystems.”
According to the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, the protection and restoration of blue carbon ecosystems could prevent approximately one gigaton of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere by 2050.
The Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act would create a national map and inventory of coastal blue carbon ecosystems and their sequestration potential, study the effects of climate change and other environmental stressors on rates of carbon sequestration, improve and expand protections for existing coastal blue carbon ecosystems, and restore degraded ecosystems.
The Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act was endorsed by Restore America’s Estuaries, Earthjustice, Ocean Conservancy, National Audubon Society, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
“Restore America’s Estuaries strongly supports the Blue Carbon for our Planet Act,” said Daniel Hayden, President & CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. "Our nation’s wetlands, seagrass and mangroves are critical carbon sinks and protect our communities from the impacts of storms. This bill underscores the need for continued research and data management, and support for coastal conservation and restoration projects, particularly in our under-served communities that are the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change and sea level rise.”
Bonamici is the Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus, as well as the only member from the Pacific Northwest on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. Last Congress, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis wrote a comprehensive Climate Action Plan to solve the climate crisis. The Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act is a cornerstone of the ocean climate recommendations included in the Climate Action Plan.