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Sullivan goes bipartisan to address ocean acidification


The oceans are having a chemistry problem — they’re getting too acidic and that’s impacting their ecosystems and the animals that inhabit them, from coral reefs to salmon.

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Acidification comes from industrial sources, the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture, cement manufacturing, and other causes.

In his third piece of major legislation related to ocean health in the past 18 months, Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts have introduced legislation to support research and monitoring of ocean acidification.

His OCEAN Research Act would increase funding for ocean health, which is critical to the seafood industry in Alaska.

The senator said in a news release that the bill would lead to greater research and monitoring of ocean acidification, which occurs when carbon dioxide forms acids in seawaters.

“As America’s leading seafood producer and home to more coastline than the contiguous Lower 48 states combined, Alaska is particularly vulnerable to changes in ocean conditions,” said Sen. Sullivan, in a press release last week. “Decreasing balance in ocean pH levels can threaten our fish species and coastal ecosystems, and, by extension, the very livelihood of our commercial fisheries and coastal communities. Policymakers in Washington—and all stakeholders—must rely on the best, most up-to-date data in order to develop effective responses to the challenge, which is why this legislation is so important. I thank my colleague Senator Markey, who represents another major American seafood producer, for joining me in championing invaluable scientific research and the health of our oceans.” 

Sullivan has been trying to work across the aisle with Democrats on matters that states can agree on. He also went bipartisan earlier this year when he introduced legislation to combat plastics and other trash in the ocean with Save Our Seas 2.0 Act. His fellow sponsors included Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Sen. Lisa Murkowski signed on as one of the many cosponsors.

The original Save Our Seas Act, sponsored by Sullivan and Whitehouse, was signed into law by President Trump last fall, as seen in the photo above.

Sullivan took to Twitter today to chide the Alaska establishment media for having ignored his environmental legislation. Anchorage Daily News Editorial Editor Tom Hewitt was quick to jump on his Twitter to fire back at Sullivan, pointing out that some of the East Coast media coverage Sullivan got was merely reprinting of his press release.

But if Sullivan intended to get a response from the ADN, then he did succeed by not getting just one, but two responses from an evidently offended Hewitt:

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


    • Preparation for his 2020 election…..that’s all. Another carpetbagger who married an Alaska Native gal who has substantial ties to the Republican Party. Dan’s a nice fellow, but he won’t come out swinging for either Dunleavy or Trump. Middle of the road Republican. (Sorry to offend, Suzanne. I know you are a big supporter).

      • I think he is doing a great job as a freshman Senator. He works hard for Alaska and to call him a carpetbagger is a disservice – many Alaska leaders came from other places – his military obligations kept him out of state for long periods of time. And, I find it offensive that you intimate that he married a Native Alaskan for political purposes – shame.

  1. It’s pretty darn sad when all the leftist media in Alaska don’t even pick this up! They claim to care about the environment, yet don’t publish this newsworthy story.

    Suzanne, thanks for being on top of these things. I may be conservative, but I’m also conservative about the environment. I appreciate you doing the news. You do a wonderful job. I just wish my pocketbook was large enough to support you more! <3

    • Felonious – That story was still in the “All Stories” category but I did forget to drop it down into “Politics.” It’s there now. Thanks for the heads up. My bad. – sd

  2. Ocean acidification = slightly less salty, such as rain/fresh water.
    The pH of rain, our lakes and drinking water fall into the acidic region of the pH scale vs salt water which falls into the alkaline margin.
    Oceans becoming more like rain (acidic) is not an emergency, but apparently funding for non-emergencies is.

  3. More likely, Senator Dan knows Americans can’t be taxed enough to fix whatever the Planetary Ocean Authority says is wrong with the oceans, but…
    there’s oceans of money an astute Senator and his colleague can steer toward Alaska’s Native Corporations for “ocean health” contracts, which means Senator Dan and his present-voting colleague get to keep their senate jobs a bit longer.
    What’s not to like?

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