Bill to study effects of acidification

COLLEGE PARK — The General Assembly passed a bill this week that would create a task force to evaluate effects of acidification in the Chesapeake Bay and other state waters and make recommendations on how to address the issue.

House Bill 118, which would form the task force and charge it to make recommendations by Jan. 1, 2015, passed with bipartisan support on Monday, the final day of the 2014 session. The state Department of Natural Resources would be required to provide staff to assist the task force.

Gov. Martin O’Malley has not indicated whether he will sign the legislation, a spokesman said.

The bill passed unanimously in the Senate, and the House of Delegates passed it 104-32. Delegate Eric Luedtke, D-Montgomery, the bill’s sponsor, said some House Republicans opposed the bill because it relates to climate change, which scientists have tied to increases in acid levels in global waters.

As more carbon dioxide is released into the air, more is also absorbed into global waters, leading the water to become more acidic. This could make it more difficult for sea life, including oysters, to grow.

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