By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,177)
The higher the pH levels in clamflats in Casco Bay, the more pitted their shells were, Joe Payne, Casco Baykeeper, told Curt Spaulding, Regional Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office at an unofficial forum today. Eventually clams and other shell-fish off the Maine coast will not exist if this trend is not reversed he said. “Families who are supported by the seafood industry will be hurt as well,” Payne said. Payne and Dr. Mark Green, a national authority on ocean acidification based at St. Joseph’s College, have been collaborating on research that has not been duplicated anywhere Spaulding was told. The public forum was hosted by the National Resource Council of Maine, Lisa Pohlman officiating.
In 2012, 30 clamflats between South Portland and Phippsburg were tested for their pH levels by a Bowdoin College intern. It was “found that the clamflats that were still being actively harvested by shellfishermen tended to be less acidic then those areas where clammers no longer find enough claims to make it worthwhile to work those flats,” according to a report at cascobay.org, under the media section. Dr. Green and Casco Baykeepers are experimenting with adding calcium carbonate, the component natural in clam shells to mudflats as a way of preserving the health of clamflats. It’s important to understand that the ocean absorbs one third of the carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels – coming mostly from power plants.
Spaulding told a group of listeners that most of the anti-pollution activism takes place on both the east coast and the west coast, but not much in between. “We want to get the framework in place. We want all states to have the same tools in their tool boxes to deal with pollution. We are trying to set up a program across the country that is good for health, the planet and us,” Spaulding said in his overview remarks on the USM campus in Portland today.
Spaulding was referring to a June EPA proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030. Spaulding called it the “centerpiece” of President Obama’s second term in office. Each state has a different goal to reach within a different time frame. The proposal is currently in the public comment phase and Spaulding urged those interested to comment up until October 16, 2014 when the comment period ends. “People are commenting in record numbers. Spaulding said following the forum. “Climage change affects everyone nowadays. From the droughts out west to sea levels rising on the east coast. This is a major issue for Americans now.”
To comment go to: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards.