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House Passes Bonamici Bill to Protect Health of Oceans, Estuaries in Climate Crisis

June 5, 2019
Press Release
House also passed three additional ocean acidification bills co-led by Bonamici


WASHINGTON, DC [6/5/19] – Today, during National Ocean Month, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Co-Chair of the House Oceans Caucus and Congressional Estuary Caucus, celebrated the passage of her bipartisan Coastal and Ocean Acidification Stressors and Threats (COAST) Research Act.


The COAST Research Act is Bonamici’s first climate bill to pass the House this Congress. It will help coastal communities respond to the effects of climate change on our oceans and estuaries by expanding scientific research and monitoring of ocean and coastal acidification.


A video of Bonamici’s remarks on the House floor can be found here.

“For too long our oceans have suffered the effects of climate change by absorbing carbon emissions, which has long-term consequences for our ecosystems,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said after the vote. “I’m proud that my first climate bill to pass the House this Congress will strengthen investments in scientific research to protect the health of our oceans and estuaries for future generations.


“The basic chemistry of our oceans is changing at an unprecedented rate. Without intervention, ocean acidification is projected to become more intense and increasingly common on the Pacific Coast. The COAST Research Act, along with the other three bills that passed today, will improve our understanding of the effects of ocean and coastal acidification and help communities prepare appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.”


Our oceans absorb about one-third of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing them to become more acidic and inflicting damage on marine ecosystems and the communities that rely on them. Ocean and coastal acidification make it difficult for marine organisms to build their shells, and is causing some finfish, including endangered salmon, to lose the sense of smell they need to survive and reproduce. 


The COAST Research Act will help confront the challenges of ocean acidification and coastal acidification by:

  • Strengthening investments in ocean acidification and coastal acidification research and monitoring in the context of other environmental stressors. The bill reauthorizes the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NSF through FY24.
  • Recognizing the effects of ocean acidification on estuaries and integrating research, monitoring, and adaptation strategies for coastal acidification throughout the bill. 
  • Increasing our understanding of the socioeconomic effects of ocean acidification and coastal acidification. 
  • Establishing an Advisory Board to increase coordination among stakeholders. 
  • Designating NOAA as the lead federal agency responsible for implementing the federal response to ocean acidification and coastal acidification. 
  • Creating data processing, storage, and archive facilities to provide for the long-term stewardship and standardization of data. 


The House passed the COAST Research Act, ten years after the enactment of the original Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act, during National Ocean Month and Capitol Hill Ocean Week. In addition, the House passed three bipartisan bills Bonamici co-led on ocean acidification: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act, Congressman Derek Kilmer’s Ocean Acidification Innovation Act, and Congressman Bill Posey’s National Estuaries and Acidification Research Act. All of the bills are bipartisan.


The COAST Research Act has been endorsed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, IOOS Association, Consortium for Ocean Leadership, Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, Ocean Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation, Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Oregon Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia, Oregon State University, and Earthjustice.