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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
ABOUT ACTION PROGRAMS SPECIES NEWSROOM PUBLICATIONS SUPPORT

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ACTION TIMELINE

February 28, 2007 – In an effort to stem ocean acidification, the Center petitioned the state of California to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from industrial sources under the Clean Water Act. Later that year, the Center petitioned nine other coastal states to declare their ocean waters impaired under the Clean Water Act due to ocean acidification.

December 18, 2007 – The Center petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen water-quality standards for ocean pH and to publish guidelines to assist states in meeting those standards.

November 13, 2008 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA for its failure to protect coastal waters by strengthening water-quality standards for pH to confront ocean acidification.

April 14, 2009 – In response to the Center’s petition and notice of intent to sue, the EPA announced that ocean acidification would be evaluated as a threat to water quality under the Clean Water Act.

May 14, 2009 – The Center filed a lawsuit challenging the EPA for failing to address ocean acidification on the coast of Washington State under the Clean Water Act. This was the first lawsuit ever to address the problem of ocean acidification.

October 20, 2009 – The Center filed a scientific petition to protect 83 corals as threatened or endangered due to overarching threats that global warming and ocean acidification pose to their survival.

December 14, 2009 – The Center completed its effort to petition every coastal state to designate ocean and coastal waters as threatened or impaired by ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.

January 20, 2010 – The Center notified the National Marine Fisheries Service of our intent to sue the agency for its failure to respond to a petition seeking to protect 83 imperiled coral species under the Endangered Species Act. 

February 9, 2010 – In response to the Center’s January notice of intent to sue, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced a full status review to determine whether 82 of the 83 petitioned-for corals — threatened with extinction by global warming and ocean acidification — warrant the protection of the Endangered Species Act.

March 11, 2010 – In a landmark settlement of the Center’s May 2009 ocean acidification lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency agreed to consider how to approach ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.

March 22, 2010 – EPA launched an effort, in compliance with a settlement agreement with the Center, seeking public input for issuing guidance on how to address ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act.

March 23, 2010 – The Center for Biological Diversity sued to protect critical habitat for the endangered black abalone, a California shellfish that has declined by 99 percent thanks to overfishing, global warming-induced disease and ocean acidification.

November 16, 2010 – Responding to our lawsuit, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that coastal states begin addressing ocean acidification under the Clean Water Act. The EPA urged states to gather data on ocean acidification, develop methods for identifying waters affected by ocean acidification, and create criteria for measuring the impact of acidification on marine ecosystems.

June 16, 2011 – Washington state announced which marine waters have water-quality problems but completely failed to identify waters that are suffering from ocean acidification.

October 11, 2011 – The EPA finalized a list of polluted waters in California but ignored one of worst threats to the state’s coastal waters: ocean acidification.

July 11, 2012 – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the first steps of a national strategy to protect sea life from ocean acidification.

October 18, 2012 – The Center filed a petition urging the Environmental Protection Agency to overrideinadequate water-quality standards for 15 coastal states and territories in order to protect aquatic life.

October 22, 2012 – The Center called on Congress to hold a hearing to discuss a national plan for addressing the growing toll that ocean acidification is taking on America’s sea life in a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee; the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

April 16, 2013 – The Obama administration released its National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, intended to strengthen ocean health and coordinate national management — but missing badly needed steps to reduce carbon pollution plaguing oceans and rapidly transforming marine life.

May 29, 2013 – In response to our petition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began an in-depth study about combating ocean acidification and reducing pollution having a dramatic impact on corals, shellfish and other sea life. 

September 25, 2013 – The Centerfiled notice of intent to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for the agency’s failure to act on a petition to protect the orange clownfish and seven species of damselfish under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

October 16, 2013 – The Center filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agencyfor failing to address ocean acidification killing oysters in Oregon and Washington and threatening a wide range of other sea life. The lawsuit challenged the EPA’s decision that seawaters in those two states met water-quality standards meant to protect marine life despite disturbing increases in acidity.

Clownfish photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Nemo's great uncle