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Promoting “Climate Change Plus” Industries Through the Administrative State: The Case of Marine Aquaculture

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Climate change has reached its “all hands on deck” moment, requiring simultaneous mitigation and adaptation efforts and the participation of all branches of government at all levels—including (and maybe especially) the administrative state. However, while certain agency exercises of climate change discretion have received considerable commentary, less attention has been paid to the ability of federal and state agencies and tribes to promote what this Article terms “climate change plus” (CC+) industries—that is, new, emerging, or expanding industries that can assist climate change mitigation or adaptation (or both) despite not being obviously connected to climate change. Therefore, unlike renewable energy, these industries are unlikely to inspire major legislative changes in policy or new statutory incentive programs as part of a larger climate change initiative. Nevertheless, these industries can still contribute to the nation’s efforts to meet climate change mitigation and adaptation goals, underscoring why the administrative state needs to carefully evaluate such industries through a climate change lens when exercising regulatory discretion.

This Article focuses on U.S. marine aquaculture (mariculture) as a rapidly expanding industry in need of CC+ administrative evaluation, because certain aspects of this industry deserve selective promotion as part of a national climate change policy. Marine aquaculture is recognized worldwide as an increasingly critical facet of food security. However, many kinds of mariculture also contribute to climate change mitigation, coastal adaptation, and water quality improvement. This Article argues that focusing on marine aquaculture as a potential CC+ industry provides all the federal agencies, coastal states, and tribes involved in its regulation with a mechanism for coordinating, streamlining, and promoting the expansion of this industry’s most multiply beneficial forms.

This Symposium issue is made possible in part by our Platinum Symposium Sponsor Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

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