Clipped From The Des Moines Register

bob_lorenz Member Photo

Clipped by bob_lorenz

 - Midwest farms aren't solely to blame for 'dead...
Midwest farms aren't solely to blame for 'dead zone' Washington, D.C. Talk about muddying the waters. Every summer, a large, oxygen-depleted oxygen-depleted oxygen-depleted "dead zone" appears in the Gulf of Mexico, and Midwest farmers farmers have been blamed for it. The Clinton administration administration came up with a plan for shrinking the dead zone by reducing the nitrogen flowing flowing down the Mississippi River into the Gulf by 30 percent. Much of that nitrogen nitrogen comes from cornfields in the Midwest. But now, the U.S. Environmental Environmental Protection Agency is WASHINGTON FARM REPORT PihupBrasher taking another look at the problem. "Farmers are not the problem, or not as big a problem as they have been portrayed," said Don Par-rish, Par-rish, Par-rish, a Farm Bureau spokesman. spokesman. A report done by EPA's southeast regional office says that phosphorus also appears to be contributing to the dead zone. The study says "there may be considerable considerable benefit" to reducing both nitrogen and phosphorus phosphorus use. Phosphorus gets into rivers rivers and lakes from several sources, including municipal sewage as well as runoff from manure and fertilizer on farms. Derek Winstanley, chief of the Illinois State Water Survey, a state agency, studied studied the latest EPA analysis and says it shows that phosphorus phosphorus may be the most important pollutant when it comes to the dead zone. That means the Clinton-era Clinton-era Clinton-era plan could be targeting the wrong pollutant. An earlier EPA report, issued in January and now being circulated by the Farm Bureau, claimed that the 30 percent reduction in nitrogen nitrogen that the plan calls for would not fix the Gulf. Parrish said the research that led to the nitrogen-reduction nitrogen-reduction nitrogen-reduction plan is no longer credible. The dead zone, or hypoxia, hypoxia, extends from the mouth of the Mississippi River to the Texas coast and reached 5,800 square miles this year. The dead zone occurs when nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus spur the growth of plankton and algae. When the algae and plankton decay, the water is robbed of oxygen, and fish and shellfish cannot survive. For Iowa farmers, the EPA's findings may not make a whole lot of difference, difference, experts say. Because of Clean Water Act requirements, Iowa already must cut the amount of both nitrogen and phosphorus phosphorus in the state's own lakes and streams. How much of a reduction will be necessary is still being debated within the state. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Secretary Patty Judge, who serves on a task force that See BRASHER, Page 3M

Clipped from The Des Moines Register05 Sep 2004, SunPage 103

The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa)05 Sep 2004, SunPage 103
bob_lorenz Member Photo

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in