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December 2014 Issue

IPCC Releases Synthesis Report, Rep. Johnson Voices Support
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, (Sea Technology, November 2014) has released the final part of the Fifth Assessment Report, the Synthesis Report. The Synthesis Report brings together the finding of the reports of the three working groups and two special reports.

“This IPCC assessment sends a stark message to our nation’s leaders and the international community, namely: the adverse effects of climate change are evident today and require immediate action or these adverse effects will grow dramatically worse,” said U.S. House Science Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas).

“The negative consequences of climate change are not abstract scientific predictions for the far-off future. We are facing some of these consequences now and they are affecting every American.”


Rep. Young Combats IUU Fishing
Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC) commends Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) for his continuing efforts to combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Young is co-chair of the House Oceans Caucus and a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

This past September, Young voted in favor of advancing H.R. 69, the Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing Enforcement Act of 2013, out of committee, for consideration by the full House of Representatives. Moreover, Young helped craft a bipartisan amendment to H.R. 69, the Port State Measures Agreement Act of 2014, that would make changes to U.S. domestic law necessary to fully implement the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing, negotiated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2009.

The Port State Measures Agreement is the first global instrument specifically designed to address IUU fishing. The U.S. was a leader in developing the agreement, which relies on the principle that all seafood must eventually be landed at some port in order to enter into trade. The agreement calls on nations to effectively police their ports in order to restrict or prevent illegally harvested seafood from entering global markets. The U.S. Senate ratified the agreement earlier this year. Congress must pass implementing legislation for the agreement to enter into force.

The issue of IUU fishing is particularly important for crabbers and coastal communities in Alaska. A recent McDowell Group report estimates that 40 percent of the king crab on the world market comes from illegal Russian sources. Illegal Russian crab has been flooding the world market for decades and translates to millions of dollars in lost tax revenue to Alaskan coastal communities, ABSC said.


BOEM to Prepare EIS for Possible Cook Inlet Lease Sale
BOEM will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of a potential oil and gas lease sale in Cook Inlet, Alaska. The EIS analysis will focus on the potential effects of leasing, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas in the proposed lease sale area, which BOEM identified in November 2013.

Currently, there are no active leases nor oil/gas exploration or development facilities in the Cook Inlet federal waters. The 2012 to 2017 Outer Continental Shelf Oil & Gas Leasing Program proposes one potential Cook Inlet Oil and Gas lease sale.

BOEM will hold public scoping meetings in Alaska during November and will accept written comments through December 8.


New Report Shows Positive Impact of Clean Water Act in US
A new report, Waterways Restored: The Clean Water Act’s Impact on 15 American Rivers, Lakes and Bays, by Environment America Research & Policy Center has been released on the heels of the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The series of case studies comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers a new rule to restore protections under the law for 60 percent of the nation’s rivers and streams.

“The Clean Water Act has restored polluted rivers and threatened bays across the country,” said John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America. “To protect and preserve our waters for the next 42 years, we need to ensure the law covers all of our rivers, streams and wetlands.”

All of the waterways documented in the study are guaranteed protection under the Clean Water Act, but more than 2 million miles of the nation’s rivers and streams are not because of a loophole in the law.

In March, the EPA proposed a rule to restore protections for the headwaters, streams and 20 million acres of wetlands left in legal limbo by the loophole. But oil companies, agribusinesses and developers are campaigning against it, and the U.S. House has voted to block the rule.

Despite the success of the Clean Water Act, polluters still dump about 200 million pounds of toxic chemicals into waterways nationwide each year.

“To fulfill the promise of the Clean Water Act,” said Rumpler, “the EPA should protect all of our waters from toxic pollution, and make them safe for drinking, swimming and fishing for future generations.”


BLUE Film Festival Promotes Ocean Issues
The BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit (BLUE) was held in November in St. Petersburg, Florida. Highlights included an address from Katherine Anne Castor, U.S. Representative for Florida’s 14th congressional district.

BLUE is where advanced ocean technologies are showcased in concert with inspiring films. Founded in 2006 by Debbie and Charlie Kinder, it has become renowned for its unique ability to spark important discussions in areas of ocean science, conservation and exploration.

The event included Jeremy Irons’s presentation of the documentary feature “Trashed,” James Cameron’s film on his death-defying 7-mile solo submersible dive, Fabien Cousteau’s 31-day underwater living experiment in the Florida Keys, new images from Google Ocean Program, and Sylvia Earle’s presentation of the documentary “Mission BLUE.”



2014:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

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