SECTION 1. There is hereby established an Ocean Acidification Task Force to investigate, identify, and study the direct and indirect effects of coastal and ocean acidification on species that are commercially harvested or grown in the commonwealth’s coastal and ocean environments.
The Task Force shall consist of the following members: 3 members of the senate, 2 of whom shall be appointed by the president of the senate and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 3 members of the house of representatives, 2 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader; 8 members appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be representatives of environmental or community groups, 3 of whom shall be persons who fish commercially, including at least one aquaculturist, and 3 of whom shall be scientists who have studied coastal or ocean acidification; the commissioner of the department of environmental protection or his designee; the commissioner of the department of agricultural resources or his designee; the director of the division of marine fisheries or his designee; the director of the office of coastal zone management or his designee; and 1 municipal official appointed by the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The Task Force shall be chaired by the commissioner of environmental protection, or his designee.
The Task Force shall: (i) examine existing state and federal laws pertaining to coastal and ocean acidification; (ii) review, study and analyze existing scientific literature and data on coastal and ocean acidification and the direct and indirect effects and potential effects such acidification has had or may have on commercially harvested or grown species along the coasts of the commonwealth; (iii) identify critical gaps in such scientific literature and data; (iv) identify the factors contributing to coastal and ocean acidification; (v) identify methods and protocols to mitigate coastal and ocean acidification; (vi) identify economic development opportunities afforded by ocean acidification through development and commercialization of new technologies and businesses; (vii) examine means of increasing public awareness of coastal and ocean acidification; and (viii) make recommendations for legislation addressing coastal and ocean acidification.
The Task Force shall submit its findings, together with drafts of recommended legislation, if any, to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means, and the chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture not later than March 30, 2016.
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