BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                             Senator Ricardo Lara, Chair
                            2015 - 2016  Regular  Session
          AB 2139 (Williams) - Ocean Protection Council:  ocean  
          acidification
          
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          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |Version: June 20, 2016          |Policy Vote: N.R. & W. 7 - 2,   |
          |                                |          E.Q. 6 - 1            |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |Urgency: No                     |Mandate: No                     |
          |--------------------------------+--------------------------------|
          |Hearing Date: August 8, 2016    |Consultant: Narisha Bonakdar    |
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          This bill meets the criteria for referral to the Suspense File.

          Bill  
       Summary:1)  AB 2139 states that the Ocean Protection Council (OPC), subject  
          to the availability of funding, may develop an ocean  
          acidification and hypoxia (OAH) science task force (group), and  
          outlines required activities for the group.
          
          Fiscal  
          Impact:  Approximately $1.65 million (special and private funds)  
          for OPC to implement the specified tasks.  OPC indicates that  
          funds have already been allocated for the specified activities  
          as follows:


           ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
          |OAH science task       |$25,000 (special fund, OPC grant to CA Ocean  |
          |force:                 |Science Trust (Trust), matching funds from    |
          |                       |Oregon and Washington, and B.C.)              |
          |                       |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(A) Adaptation         |Minor costs (special fund)                    |
          |measures:              |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(B) Predictive models: |$1.3 million (Proposition 84)                 |
          |                       |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(C) Coastal Health     |$300,000 (Proposition 84)                     |
          |Criteria:              |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(D) Inventory          |$50,000 (special fund, OPC grant to the       |







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          |vulnerable areas:      |Trust)                                        |
          |                       |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(E) Establish joint    |Unknown (will be implemented as private funds |
          |priorities:            |are available)                                |
          |                       |                                              |
          |-----------------------+----------------------------------------------|
          |(F) Identify gaps:     |Minor costs (special fund) for coordination   |
          |                       |                                              |
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          Background:  

          Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia. Ocean acidification refers to a  
          reduction in the pH of the ocean over an extended period of  
          time.  It is caused primarily by uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2)  
          from the atmosphere, and can result in more corrosive seawater  
          and a lower concentration of dissolved carbonate ions that many  
          marine organisms use to grow their shells and skeletons. Ocean  
          hypoxia refers to low or depleted oxygen in the ocean, which  
          often leads to 'dead zones'-regions where life cannot be  
          sustained. The two phenomena are often coupled for a variety of  
          biological and oceanographic reasons. Though significant gaps in  
          knowledge remain, evidence indicates that OAH threatens coastal  
          ecosystems, marine-dependent industries, and human communities,  
          and has become a priority for many state, federal, and private  
          entities.

          OAH and the West Coast. Although OAH is a global phenomenon,  
          research indicates that the West Coast of North America will  
          face some of the earliest, most severe changes in ocean carbon  
          chemistry. The threats posed by OAH's progression will be  
          further compounded by other dimensions of global climate change,  
          and, according to some research, may also serve to exacerbate  
          global warming.

          The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel  
          (Panel) was established at the request of OPC in an effort to  
          develop the scientific foundation necessary for West Coast  
          managers to take informed action. The 20-person panel of  
          scientific experts was charged with summarizing the current  
          state of knowledge and developing scientific consensus about  
          available management options to address OAH on the West Coast.  
          The resulting document, "Major Findings, Recommendations, and  








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          Actions" summarizes the Panel's work and presents Actions that  
          can be taken now to address OAH. 

          According to the report, OAH endangers not only the biological  
          health of marine organisms but also the numerous economic and  
          societal benefits that stem from the West Coast's dependence on  
          its coastal waters. The Panel unanimously affirms that  
          acidification of coastal waters is an undeniable, pervasive  
          issue whose impacts have only begun to be felt. The report  
          further cautions that delayed action could render future  
          management interventions far less effective.
                                                
          OAH and the OPC. According to the OPC's website, OPC has  
          committed support to improve scientific understanding of  
          acidification and hypoxia and the impacts to biological  
          resources. The OPC is funding research through California Sea  
          Grant to provide insights into the effects of the upwelling of  
          acidic waters along the California coast, and recently approved  
          funding for scientists to perform integrated modeling of  
          acidification, hypoxia, and nutrient inputs in the ocean. The  
          project will enhance current regional oceanographic modeling  
          systems enabling a more comprehensive and consistent evaluation  
          of both anthropogenic and climatic perturbations on near-shore  
          physical, chemical, and biological conditions.

          This bill cites the Panel's report in its findings and  
          declarations, and states intent for OPC, to ''address the  
          challenge of ocean acidification''.
          
          Proposed Law:  
            This bill:

          1) Makes findings and declarations regarding about the West  
             Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel and its  
             recent findings and recommendations, and the OPC's mission.

          2) Authorizes OPC, subject to the availability of funding, to  
             develop an OAH science task force.

          3) Requires, subject to the availability of funding, that the  
             OPC implement the following measures: (1) facilitate climate  
             change adaptation in the ocean; (2) develop, refine, and  
             integrate predictive models of OAH; (3) work with other  
             agencies to ensure efforts to address OAH are informed by the  








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             best available science; (4) develop a comprehensive inventory  
             of OAH-vulnerable areas in California; (5) Establish and  
             advance joint priorities for OAH research with other  
             governmental and private entities; and (6) identify gaps  
             between OAH monitoring efforts and management needs, and the  
             actions necessary to address these gaps.
             
          4) Requires OPC, beginning on January 1, 2018, and annually  
             thereafter, to adopt recommendations for further actions that  
             may be taken to address ocean acidification and hypoxia at  
             its first meeting of the year.

          Related  
          Legislation:  SB 1363 (Monning, 2016) requires, to the extent  
          that funding is available, the OPC, in consultation with the  
          State Coastal Conservancy and other relevant entities, to  
          establish and administer the Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia  
          Reduction Program, and specifies approaches that must be  
          considered.  This bill is pending consideration in Assembly  
          Appropriations.
          
          Staff  
       Comments:1)  
          
          Purpose. According to the author, "many studies point to the  
          harmful effects of ocean acidification, but the state does not  
          currently have enough data at its disposal to evaluate the scope  
          of the problem or make educated policy decisions. Key strategies  
          to address this deficiency include generating an inventory of  
          ocean acidification 'hot spots,' developing predictive models of  
          ocean acidification, and defining gaps between monitoring  
          efforts and management needs. Up to this point there has been  
          very little focus on ocean acidification at the state level, and  
          this measure codifies ocean acidification as a priority for the  
          Legislature and the Ocean Protection Council."

          Funding? AB 2139 is explicitly subject to funding availability,  
          and does not appropriate any funds or designate a funding source  
          for the activities outlined in the bill.  The OPC indicates that  
          addressing ocean hypoxia is a top priority for which funds have  
          been made available from various sources including bond funds,  
          grant funds, foundation monies, and in-kind contributions. This  
          bill codifies expectations and activities that should be  
          undertaken to further this effort.








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