Head of State Ecology Answers Prof. Cliff Mass on Ocean Acidification


As reported here in the last few weeks, UW Meteorologist Cliff Mass posted in his blog that recent court filings by the US EPA and State Department of Ecology were evidence that neither really thought that Ocean Acidification was a scientifically proven threat to the Salish Sea and our seafood industries. My criticism here on this blog was then used by him as a place to accuse me of personally attacking him for his views. (see comments in previous articles last week). This week, State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon stepped into the fray, publishing a scathing blog entry directly addressing his comments. I quote:

Department of Ecology take threats from ocean acidification very seriously. This is not a surprise to many, given our policy and science leadership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to understand and address ocean acidification. But local meteorologist Cliff Mass’s September 7 blog is causing some people to question just what our position is, and whether ocean acidification is real.

Let’s be clear. Ocean acidification is real. Determining the causes, impacts, and identifying potential solutions are high priorities for our agency and our state…

….Cliff Mass quoted a few sentences from legal documents that misled several blog readers to believe that Ecology and EPA have determined that acidification is not damaging oysters in Puget Sound or other local waters. He misinterpreted documents filed under litigation by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

http://coenv.washington.edu/research/major-initiatives/ocean-acidification/oa-in-washingtons-waters-in-the-context-of-marine-water-quality/.

It is gratifying to say the least to see our top bureaucrat in charge of addressing this issue come forward and clearly lay out the issue to any reader in the State. Professor Mass has not yet chosen to respond to this blog post by Ms. Bellon.

Those of us who are involved in educating the public to serious (and sometimes difficult to comprehend) issues like ocean acidification are grateful to Ms. Bellon for stepping up and using her bully pulpit to call out the serious and urgent need for continued scientific work to figure out a solution to this issue, if a solution does in fact exist. There is far too much at stake to sit back and allow critics to derail these efforts without  answering them. It’s what true leadership is all about.

4 Responses

  1. Maia Bellon approved the use of pesticides and herbicides on our tidelands, something pushed by the supposedly “green” shellfish industry. The Shellfish Industry has used ocean acidification as a way to “greenwash” themselves. Their OA claims were never valid…they had problems in their factory aquaculture facilities when they used cold, upwelled water. They made a mistake. It is not ocean acidification. Bellow wrote the blog as a result of pressure by the Inslee administration.

    PS: In my blogs I spoke against the pesticides and herbicides. Who is really interested our natural environment?

  2. Whatever, Cliff.

  3. Al,
    I did not know about Ms. Bellon’s blog, but if you read it, there is nothing factual in it. Just a statement that the DOE takes acidification serious. The “inconvenient truth” for Ms. Bellon is that the DOE statement is quite clear about the lack of scientific evidence for any impacts of anthropogenic CO2 on natural waters. She mentions the oysters dying in factory tank scare, which as my blog discusses has nothing to do with the natural world. I will contact Ms Bellon directly now that I know that she made that statement. She is an attorney with no scientific background by the way….cliff

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