Oregon coastline
Daniel PowellThe rugged waters off Oregon are turning acidic.

Carbon emissions are turning seawater acidic, and environmentalists say that’s a violation of the Clean Water Act.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the EPA, challenging the agency’s assertion that the increasingly acidic ocean off Oregon and Washington meets federal water-quality standards.

Perhaps a quarter of the carbon dioxide that we pump into the air mixes into the sea, where it reacts with water to produce bicarbonate. The byproducts of these reactions are loose hydrogen atoms, which lower the marine pH. The concentration of hydrogen ions in surface ocean waters has risen 26 percent since the Industrial Revolution, reducing pH levels by 0.1 unit.