Congressman Jared Huffman

Representing the 2nd District of California

Rep. Huffman: New National Marine Sanctuaries Expansion Will Help Protect Ocean Ecosystems From Ravages of Climate Change

Mar 19, 2015
Press Release
Huffman: “These sanctuaries can reduce environmental stressors on sea life and help prevent extinction: climate change mitigation at its best”

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), a member of the House Safe Climate Caucus, today released a video celebrating the expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week. Huffman noted that the 2,200 square mile expansion of the National Marine Sanctuaries is critically important for mitigating the effects of climate change in that they reduce environmental stressors on sea life and help prevent extinction.

“The impacts of climate change are being felt in our oceans already… it is harming ocean ecosystems, which already face threats from pollution, ocean acidification, and overfishing. If there’s one thing we know about the ocean, it’s that it is a complex, interconnected ecosystem. Harming ocean chemistry and altering the biodiversity of our seas will have very serious consequences,” Huffman said.

“And that’s why expanding this network of marine sanctuaries is such a critical step in protecting marine life from further climate harm… These sanctuaries can reduce environmental stressors on sea life and help prevent extinction: climate change mitigation at its best.”

To view the video, click HERE:

A transcript of the video can be found below:

Hi, I’m Congressman Jared Huffman.

“It isn’t often that we can report good environmental news from Washington. These days, the news is often about the latest embarrassment: earlier this month, for example, a certain Senator threw a snowball on the Senate floor—thinking that he was disproving the science of Climate Change. What’s worse: he’s the chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works! That’s what we’re up against.

“But last week we got some great news for the environment. And it was BIG news.

“After more than a decade of effort by California lawmakers, environmental leaders, fishermen, the tourism industry, and local communities, the Obama administration gave final approval to a massive expansion of the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries.

“This expansion added 2,200 square miles of waters off the coast and more than doubled the total protected territory, stretching now from the mouth of the San Francisco Bay all the way to the Mendocino Coast.

“These National Marine Sanctuaries now encompass an area almost as large as the state of Connecticut and they’ll protect one of the planet’s most prolific and vibrant ocean ecosystems.

“Why is this so important?

“It’s because the upwelling zone is a destination feeding areas for endangered blue whales, humpback whales, sharks, salmon, Dungeness crab, red urchin, and other sea life. Above the waterline, the protected area contains the largest seabird colony on the U.S. mainland.

“These waters are critically important for the health of the Pacific Ocean, and by expanding these two sanctuaries we have protected a 350-mile band of ocean from drilling and other dangerous activities.

“This area has been in the crosshairs of oil and gas development for a long time—as recently as the Bush Administration. A repeat of the oil spill that happened off the Santa Barbara Coast in the late 1960’s, or the terrible Deepwater Horizon spill just 5 years ago in the Gulf of Mexico would cause untold damage to this national treasure and would have disastrous effects on our local and coastal economies.

“But this is also about mitigating the effects of climate change.

“The impacts of climate change are being felt in our oceans already, and I don’t just mean stronger storms and sea-level rise, as bad as those outcomes are. Climate change is harming ocean ecosystems, which already face threats from pollution, ocean acidification, and overfishing. If there’s one thing we know about the ocean, it’s that it is a complex, interconnected ecosystem. Harming ocean chemistry and altering the biodiversity of our seas will have very serious consequences.

“And that’s why expanding this network of marine sanctuaries is such a critical step in protecting marine life from further climate harm: we now have more than 150,000 square miles of marine sanctuaries on our coasts, and in the Great Lakes, also near the Hawaiian Islands and American Samoa. These sanctuaries can reduce environmental stressors on sea life and help prevent extinction: climate change mitigation at its best.

“It isn’t often that we get to celebrate such an incredible accomplishment for the environment, so I want to recognize all the hard work that it took to bring this campaign to a successful conclusion – from the North Coast to the White House.

“It wouldn’t have happened without the determined leadership of my predecessor, Lynn Woolsey, who fought to make this happen in Congress and pushed federal agencies to get it done.

“So thank you to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and to the Obama administration for their work in protecting these waters, and their sea life, for generations to come.”

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