Louisiana questions Dead Zone’s impact and denies request to extend public comment

As I stated in a press release a few days ago, Louisiana has decided to take Louisiana’s Gulf waters off of their impaired waters list, despite the impacts the Dead Zone has on Louisiana’s waters, fishermen, and wildlife. You can check out a radio interview that I did on the subject here, as well as an article in HoumaToday.To add insult to injury, Louisiana has now denied GRN’s request for an extension for public comments. We feel that this request was reasonable due to the fact that public comments for the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan are due in the same time frame, and that Mardi Gras, whether you take part or not, is a significant interruption. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality’s (LDEQ) denial of our extension request did not refute any of our reasoning, they instead state that an extension “would not allow sufficient time for LDEQ to analyze, revise, and incorporate changes…and therefore make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to meet the statutory requirements to submit [the impaired waters list]…to EPA by April 1, 2012.” [pdf of denial letter]This is not a valid reason to deny our extension. In fact their previous lists, which have to be submitted every two years, weren’t even publicly noticed until July (2008) and August (2010). They were apparently not concerned about meeting the April 1 deadline in the past, so why is it so urgent this year?We will be asking our members, friends, and anybody concerned about the health of the Gulf to take action on this in the near future, as the comment deadline is February 29. Stay tuned!

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