For Immediate Release,
October 20, 2020
WASHINGTON— Legislation to end the federal offshore oil-leasing program and pursue other oceans-related solutions to the climate change crisis was introduced today by House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva.
The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020 also seeks to restore coastal ecosystems, strengthen marine mammal conservation, reduce carbon emissions from shipping vessels, improve international ocean governance, and protect 30% of ocean habitats by 2030.
“Protecting our oceans helps protect our climate, as this important legislation recognizes. As sea-level rises we have to end offshore oil drilling and help our coastal communities transition to the resilient, clean energy economy we all need,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This bill also aims to protect marine mammals from ship strikes, noise pollution, and climate change. U.S. leadership can help unite the global community to solve these existential threats to the lives that depends on our ocean, including our own.”
The bill would create new policies around what it calls the “blue carbon” ecosystems that help sequester our greenhouse gas emissions. That includes protecting salt marshes, sea grasses and mangroves that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as well as protecting ocean habitats for the recovery of whales, which store tons of carbon.
As it phases out offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters, the bill would also provide $3 billion for coastal restoration projects, with priority given to projects that provide jobs for those affected by COVID-19 and assistance to low-income communities of color affected by environmental racism.
More information on the Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2020 can be found here.
Grijalva’s press release and link to his 1:30 p.m. (ET) press conference is here.