The prediction of the largest ever Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico for this summer, released by LUMCON and LSU, is another harsh reminder that our country must work aggressively to clean up the Mississippi River. The solely voluntary mechanisms currently promoted to reduce the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution that cause the Dead Zone will not alone solve the problem. The EPA must use all of its available tools to reduce Dead Zone-causing pollution, which include setting numeric limits on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution allowed in the Mississippi Basin, and developing a clean-up plan that includes solid goals and deadlines.
Gulf Restoration Network, as a member of the Mississippi River Collaborative, petitioned EPA to do what it is required to do to under the Clean Water Act to address the Dead Zone in 2008. Almost three years later, the EPA still hasn’t responded to this petition, and the Dead Zone continues to plague the Gulf impacting wildlife and coastal communities. The EPA must stop dragging its feet in addressing the Dead Zone.
Any part of this statement may be quoted with attribution to Matt Rota, Director of Science and Water Policy at the Gulf Restoration Network.
Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium / Louisiana State University Dead Zone prediction release - http://www.gulfhypoxia.net/Research/Shelfwide%20Cruises/2011/HypoxiaForecast2011.pdf
Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental advocacy organization founded in 1994 and based in New Orleans, works to unite and empower people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico region. http://www.healthygulf.org
The Mississippi River Collaborative is a partnership of environmental organizations and legal centers from states bordering the Mississippi River as well as regional and national groups working on issues affecting the Mississippi River and its tributaries. http://www.msrivercollab.org