"It's become a rite of summer. Every year, a 'dead zone' appears in the Gulf of Mexico. It's an area where water doesn't have enough oxygen for fish to survive. And every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) commissions scientists to venture out into the Gulf to measure it.
This week, NOAA announced that this year's dead zone is the biggest one ever measured. It covers 8,776 square miles — an area the size of New Jersey. And it's adding fuel to a debate over whether state and federal governments are doing enough to cut pollution that comes from farms.
The debate actually goes back many years, at least to 1985, when Don Scavia was a top scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He and his colleagues asked some scientists, for the first time, to go look for a dead zone in the Gulf."