New Report Reveals Most States Failing to Manage Nitrogen & Phosphorus Pollution
The Mississippi River Collaborative (MRC) today released a report that implores the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take specific actions to regulate excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in state waters along the Mississippi River because those 10 states haven’t achieved any significant pollution reductions on their own.
MRC, a partnership of 13 environmental and legal groups, authored the report–entitled “Decades of Delay”–to assess state-level progress to reduce the pollution that threatens drinking water supplies for millions of Americans and causes so-called dead zones that cannot support aquatic life.
“The results of the EPA’s hands-off approach with the Mississippi River basin states are massive algae blooms and nitrate contamination that make our drinking water unsafe and render lakes and rivers unfit for recreation,” said Kris Sigford, Water Quality Director at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, an MRC partner. “The Mississippi River Collaborative again calls upon EPA to exercise its Clean Water Act oversight duties and treat the Mississippi as the treasure it is.”
The report suggests six specific steps EPA can take to protect human health and water quality in the Mississippi River. Recommendations include setting numeric limits of allowable nitrogen and phosphorus in state waters, assessing water quality for nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that creates impaired waterways, and ensuring states develop nutrient reduction strategies with specific implementation plans and adequate funding.
“For 20 years, we have been told the EPA and the states would address the nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that causes the Gulf Dead Zone,” said Matt Rota, Senior Policy Director for the Gulf Restoration Network, an MRC member. “This report demonstrates that this simply has not happened. EPA should use the tools outlined in the report to finally act on their commitments.”
Decades of Delay Executive Summary.
Decades of Delay Full Report.
Matt is GRN's Senior Policy Director