Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | May 21, 2009

Kentucky environment attorney Sanders says Kentucky is fifth on list of states causing Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico from agricultural wastewater runoff.

Agricultural runoff is killing the Gulf of Mexico and Kentucky is 5th worst in the country.For the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has identified the top 150 polluting watersheds in the Mississippi River Basin that cause the annual 8,000 square-mile “Dead Zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Based on the USGS report released today, members of the Mississippi River Water Quality Collaborative urge the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and state policy makers to use the report to solve water quality problems both within the states and downstream in the Gulf.

 In January of 2008, USGS identified commercial fertilizers and animal manure from farmland in 9* states as the cause of over 70 percent of the Dead Zone pollution. Evidence is mounting that the mandated push to increase corn production – one of the most fertilizer intensive crops – for ethanol exacerbates water quality problems within the states and in the Gulf.

This year, the USGS identifies and ranks watersheds in the Basin by the amount of pollution that gets to the Gulf. The USGS report, Incorporating Uncertainty into the Ranking of SPARROW Model Nutrient Yields from the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin Watersheds” is available online at http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/sparrow/nutrient_yields/index.html

 *The 9 states contributing over 70 percent of the dead zone-causing nitrogen and phosphorus pollutants are: Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi.

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