Environmentalists sue over acidic ocean off Oregon coast

(Photo: Dave Parker / CC BY 3.0)

An environmental group is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that fossil fuel consumption has damaged Oregon's marine waters by causing ocean acidification that's killing off shellfish.

A lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland by the Center for Biological Diversity alleges that the EPA has failed to identify and protect those marine waters in Oregon under the Clean Water Act.

The lawsuit says increasing acid levels in the ocean strips seawater of calcium carbonate -- a building block for marine creatures with shells.

Oregon's oyster farms first experienced large-scale die-offs from ocean acidification in 2005.

Some Pacific Northwest hatcheries have lost 80 percent of their oyster larvae to problems linked to acidification.

EPA spokeswoman Suzanne Skadowski says the agency doesn't comment on pending litigation.

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