Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) ordered state agencies on Tuesday to take steps to address the ocean’s increasing acidity, making it the first state to adopt a policy to take on what scientists describe as a growing environmental concern.
Ocean acidification poses a threat to the state’s $270 million shellfish industry, as well as to critical habitat off its shores.
The order signed by Gregoire, whose term will end in January, calls on the state to invest more money in scientific research, curb nutrient runoff from land, and push for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on a regional, national and global scale. It accepts the recommendations that a blue-ribbon panel issued Tuesday on how to assess and limit the effects of ocean acidification. The group was co-chaired by former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus and former Gregoire chief of staff Jay Manning.
“Let’s get to work,” Gregoire told an audience at the Seattle Aquarium, adding that she would propose that the legislature reallocate $3.3 million in state funding to pay for research and other actions. “Let’s lead the world in addressing this global challenge.”