Congressman Brian Baird (WA-03) is continuing his drive to improve the health of marine ecosystems. Congressman Baird recently joined with other lawmakers and scientists to participate in the Puget Sound Ocean Acidification Workshop in Seattle to help address ocean acidification.
Ocean acidification occurs when oceans absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sulfur compounds from the atmosphere. The ocean then becomes more acidic, causing big changes in ocean chemistry and threatening the health of marine organisms.
For Congressman Baird, part of the problem is making the issue of ocean acidification more relevant to everyone.
"When you talk about ocean acidification, people need to understand that it means more acid in the ocean and that it affects the food chain. Acid is not a good thing, acid is scary," Baird said. "When I talk to fishermen in my district, I talk about how ocean acidification will impact the food supply for the salmon. Then they get it."
The Puget Sound Ocean Acidification Workshop brought together regional experts to try to establish a comprehensive plan to monitor and manage the ocean acidification problem in the Sound.
Congressman Baird, who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee, has long been a leader on the issue of ocean acidification. Congressman Baird wrote and helped guide the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring Act of 2009 (FOARAM) through Congress. President Obama signed the bill into law in March 2009.
FOARAM ensures that the Joint Subcommittee on Ocean Science and Technology can put into effect a plan to better understand and manage ocean acidification and its impact on marine ecosystems. The Joint Subcommittee's one year report on ocean acidification is due out soon.