Resolved, That a special legislative commission pursuant to section 2A of chapter 4 of the General Laws is hereby established to: (i) identify the actual and potential effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially valuable marine species; (ii) identify the scientific data and knowledge gaps that may hinder the commonwealth’s ability to craft policy and other responses to coastal and ocean acidification; and (iii) prioritize the strategies for filling those gaps to provide policies and tools to respond to the adverse effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially important fisheries and the commonwealth’s shellfish aquaculture industry.
The commission shall consist of 19 members: the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture, who shall be designated as co-chairs of the commission; 3 members of the senate, 2 of whom shall be appointed by the senate president and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; 3 members of the house of representatives, 2 of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house and 1 of 2 of 3 whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 8 members who shall be appointed by the governor, 2 of whom shall be representatives of an environmental or community group, 3 of whom shall be commercial fishermen, including at least one aquaculturist, and 3 of whom shall be scientists who have studied coastal or ocean acidification; the commissioner of marine fisheries or their designee; the commissioner of environmental protection or their designee; and the director of coastal zone management or their designee.
All appointments shall be made no later than 30 days following the effective date of this resolve. The co-chairs shall convene the first meeting of the special commission within 45 days of all appointments being made.
The commission shall meet a minimum of 4 times to review, study and analyze existing scientific literature and data on coastal and ocean acidification and how it has affected or potentially will affect commercially harvested and grown species along the coast of the commonwealth and shall address: (i) the factors contributing to coastal and ocean acidification; (ii) how to mitigate coastal and ocean acidification; (iii) critical scientific data and knowledge gaps pertaining to coastal and ocean acidification as well as critical scientific data and knowledge gaps pertaining to the effects of coastal and ocean acidification on species that are commercially harvested and grown along the commonwealth’s coast; (iv) steps to strengthen existing scientific monitoring, research and analysis regarding the causes of and trends in coastal and ocean acidification; and (v) steps to take to provide recommendations to the legislature and increase public awareness of coastal and ocean acidification.
The commission shall include in its review of the relevant scientific literature and data the results of studies presented at the conferences or workshops held in the new england or northeast region that relate to coastal and 3 of 3 ocean acidification, and shall coordinate with the Northeast Coastal Acidification Network and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators to prevent duplication of effort. The commission shall conduct public hearings to gather information and the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture shall provide staff and other resources as the co-chairs of the commission consider appropriate. The commission shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry out those recommendations, by filing the same with the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, and with the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture no later than December 31, 2018.
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