"EPA Should Set Nutrient Limits To Block Dead Zones, IG Says"

"The Environmental Protection Agency should move immediately to adopt enforceable limits on the release of nutrient pollutants -- such as fertilizer and sewage -- into rivers and streams to halt the creation of dangerously low oxygen areas in water bodies, and the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico should be one of its first targets, the agency's Office of Inspector General said in a report made public today.

'We believe selecting nationally significant waters and acting to set standards for nutrients in them is a minimal first step if EPA is to meet the requirements of the (Clean Water Act),' the report said.

'Critical national waters such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River require standards that, once set, will affect multiple upstream states,' the report said. 'These states have not yet set nutrient standards for themselves; consequently it is EPA's responsibility to act.'"

Mark Schleifstein reports for the New Orleans Times-Picayune August 27, 2009.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 08/31/2009