|Gulf Dead Zone causes known, action needed
Gulf Dead Zone Cause and Cure Known, Action Still Required
Remarks by Environmental Working Group to the Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Public Meeting
DES MOINES September 24 – A representative from the
Washington, D.C. based Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been asked
to present remarks to the Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed
Nutrient Task Force Public Meeting held today in Des Moines, IA. In his
comments, EWG Midwest Vice-President Craig Cox provided a clear-eyed and
no-nonsense assessment of the state of pollution flowing into the
Mississippi River Basin and how it contributes to the Gulf of Mexico
EWG recently opened a Midwest office in Ames, IA to effectively
address the growing threat modern agriculture poses to the environment.
Cox manages EWG’s agriculture programs from the Ames, IA office.
“The fundamental problem we face is not lack of technology or
solutions. The problem is poor policy and institutional inertia,” Cox
said in his remarks.
However, in a move welcomed by EWG and reported by the Associated
Press this morning, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
intends to inject $320 million in dedicated pollution clean up funds to
the 12 states encompassed in the Mississippi River Basin.
“We commend Secretary Vilsack for bringing more federal support to
bear on a region in desperate need of assistance,” Cox said. “Coupling
an increase in funds with better enforcement of conservation compliance
and better policies to mitigate toxic run-off will go a long way to
solving the Dead Zone problem,” Cox added.
The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force,
consisting of five federal agencies and 10 state agencies, was brought
together in 1997 to develop and implement an action plan to reduce the
Gulf Dead Zone. Agriculture has been identified as the single largest
contributor of pollution flowing into the Mississippi River Basin.
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