Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire (D) signed an executive order November 27, 2012, directing the state Department of Ecology to “focus on the ongoing work to reduce nutrients and organic carbon in locations where these pollutants alone or in combination with others, cause or contribute to multiple water-quality problems in our local marine waters to be done by building an existing regulatory and voluntary programs.”

According to sources, the executive order is the first step in implementing the recommendations of the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification co-chaired by former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator William Ruckelshaus. The panel included representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, EPA, state agencies, and tribal governments.

The report states that acidification is directly traceable to the absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels, which has resulted in a 30-percent increase in acidity of the surface ocean since 1750. The report recommends (i) adopting legislation to allow sewer connections in rural areas, (ii) requiring installation of advanced treatment technologies where nutrients from sewage systems are causing acidification, and (iii) reducing nutrient loading and carbon from point sources if scientific data support such action. See Seattle Times, November 27, 2012.