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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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Obama Looks to Protect Reefs From Souring Seas
15 April 2009 5:49 pm
The Environmental Protection Agency has asked scientists to send in information about how ocean acidification may be affecting ecosystems and new techniques for measuring the phenomenon. The move by the Obama Administration comes after long resistance on the issue by the Bush EPA.The Center for Biological Diversity threatened to sue EPA last year before the agency relented, agreeing to review the criteria for regulating the acidity of natural water bodies.
Under current rules, EPA designates ocean or freshwater areas as "impaired waters" under the Clean Water Act if the pH of the water is 0.2 units off naturally occurring levels. Scientists want EPA to review these rules for a number of reasons. There's evidence that marine ecosystems may be affected by change in pH of less than 0.2 units. In addition, a simple numerical limit may not be an adequate safeguard. Perhaps a better standard, says CBD's Miyoko Sakashita, would be one in which environmental factors, such as the biological health of a particular species in a marine ecosystem, would be used by regulators to set appropriate limits. Plus, there's new science coming out on the problem all the time.
"It's going to be tricky to set regulations for," says geochemist Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Palo Alto, California. Different organisms in the same ecosystem often have different levels of tolerance for acidic water, he points out; one reef's threshold may be different than another's.