“Law and Order” Actor Sam Waterston Urges Action to Reverse Ocean Acidification - Oceana USA

“Law and Order” Actor Sam Waterston Urges Action to Reverse Ocean Acidification

Press Release Date: May 11, 2010

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Dustin Cranor, APR 954.348.1314

Actor and Oceana board member Sam Waterston testified today before the Oversight Subcommittee and the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee about the troubling impacts of ocean acidification. Waterston urged Congress to address acidification by capping and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, fully funding ocean acidification programs, and preserving EPA’s authority to address and regulate CO2 emissions.

Waterston is an award-winning actor, best known for his role as Jack McCoy in the long running series, “Law and Order.”  Waterston has been a member of Oceana’s Board of Directors since 2007.  Previously, Waterston served on Oceana’s Ocean Council, along with a group of academic, business, policy and philanthropic leaders. 

“It is a great pleasure to have Sam Waterston bring attention to the impending crisis of ocean acidification,” said Jackie Savitz, Oceana’s senior campaign director. “Ocean acidification has the potential to wreak havoc on our oceans from the base of ocean food webs to coral reefs, commercial fisheries, whales and beyond.”

Acidification results when ocean water absorbs carbon dioxide, which in turn increases the acidity of seawater.  This change in seawater chemistry will make it more difficult for shell-forming marine species such as oysters, clams and swimming sea snails (“pteropods”) to form their shells. If current trends continue, coral reefs could disappear by mid-century.    

“Ocean acidification is real, is happening now, and Congress and the Administration must commit to stop it,” said Savitz. “We must take aggressive steps now to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, before it’s too late.”  

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, humans have burned fossil fuels and produced carbon dioxide at an alarming rate. Currently, the world’s oceans absorb about 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide daily, nearly twice the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the United States each day.  This carbon dioxide is changing the chemistry of seawater.  To reverse ocean acidification, the U.S. should reduce its carbon dioxide emissions and transition quickly to clean, renewable forms of energy.