Scientists Measure Large Dead Zones off of Louisiana and Mississippi Coasts, EPA Does Little to Respond
Response Statement by Gulf Restoration Network
New Orleans, LA—Yesterday, scientists from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium completed their annual measurement of the Gulf Dead Zone, which measured 6,765 square miles not including the large Dead Zone found to the east of Louisiana. LUMCON has been measuring the Dead Zone since 1985, and over that time it has almost doubled in size.
It’s astonishing that just days before the announcement of this larger-than-average Dead Zone, the EPA denied its responsibilities to limit Dead Zone-causing pollution and to implement a clean-up plan. The Dead Zone is detrimental to Gulf sea life and the coastal residents’ way of life, and yet EPA refuses to truly tackle the issue.
Despite the fact that the Dead Zone has ballooned over the past thirty years, EPA and Mississippi River States have not taken adequate action to address the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution that feeds the Dead Zone. EPA recently denied a petition filed in 2008 by members of the Mississippi River Collaborative, which asked for immediate action to set limits on Dead Zone-causing pollution in the Mississippi River and Gulf, as well as create an enforceable clean-up plan for the Dead Zone.
The EPA has neglected its responsibility under the federal Clean Water Act to limit pollution in the Mississippi River and Gulf, and the Dead Zone will continue to grow, unless the EPA sets numeric standards for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution and requires all states in the river basin to meet those standards. The continued reliance on voluntary action from polluters and Mississippi River states will simply not be enough to fix 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/PressRelease2011.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