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June 8, 2021

Earthjustice Endorses Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act

Legislation shows leadership in global effort to address climate crisis


Steve Mashuda, Managing Attorney for Earthjustice's Oceans Program, (206) 741-1148

Washington, D.C.

Today, on World Oceans Day, U.S. House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raul Grijalva introduced The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2021. By implementing a full suite of ocean-based climate solutions, the legislation would bolster frontline communities most at risk from climate change, increase the resilience of ocean ecosystems, and demonstrate much-needed leadership in the global effort to address the climate crisis.

Statement from Steve Mashuda, Managing Attorney for the Earthjustice Oceans Program:

“The ocean is the source of all life, and it can be the source of our most powerful solutions to the growing climate crisis. Without swift and comprehensive reform of ocean management, though, our waters will continue to warm and acidify — choking the life within them — and our best options for averting climate disaster will be lost. The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act capitalizes on the strength of a healthy ocean to tackle the climate crisis head-on, while attempting to halt and reverse the destruction that climate change has already wrought on ocean ecosystems. This bill would strengthen ocean resilience on multiple fronts — protecting areas from offshore drilling, ending harmful fishing subsidies, restoring valuable blue carbon ecosystems, pollution and other threats to whales and marine wildlife from shipping, and investing in coastal Tribes and communities. Investing in ocean resilience means investing in public health, biodiversity, cultural integrity, and sustainable livelihoods, and we thank Chairman Grijalva for leading the way in this urgently needed investment with the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act.”

Key elements of the bill include provisions to:

  • Enhance carbon storage in ocean and coastal ecosystems
  • Prohibit oil and gas development activities in most areas of the Outer Continental Shelf
  • Sustainably manage fisheries so they might better adapt to climate change, and promote eating American seafood
  • Recognize Tribal and Indigenous knowledge and expertise of ocean and coastal waters, and establish a grant program to support climate research and resilience with Indigenous and local knowledge 
  • Support the Biden administration’s goal to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030 by authorizing a Marine Protected Areas inventory and a marine biodiversity census and gap analysis 
  • Promote coastal community resiliency and adaptation
  • Address ocean health challenges including ocean acidification and harmful algal blooms
Humpback whale lunge feeding in an anchovy-rich cove, off the coast of Santa Cruz, California.

Humpback whale lunge feeding in an anchovy-rich cove, off the coast of Santa Cruz, Calif.

David Gomez / Getty Images

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Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.