NEW ORLEANS – The Latest on ruling in suit seeking to reduce size of oxygen-depleted dead zones in Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere (all times local):
A farm association official says farmers have done a great deal to reduce water pollution from farm runoff, but an environmental attorney says levels are about the same as nine years ago.
That's when 11 groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding federal limits for nitrogen and phosphorus, which are blamed for oxygen-depleted "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere. The one that forms each summer in the Gulf of Mexico tends to be about the size of Connecticut.
Don Parrish of the American Farm Bureau Federation and Ann Alexander of the Natural Resources Defense Counsel commented Tuesday, after a judge gave EPA more time to work with states on cutting runoff of the chemicals.
A federal judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency more time to work with states on limiting runoff of chemicals blamed for oxygen-depleted "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.
Scientists say nitrogen and phosphorus carried down the Mississippi River stimulate plankton blooms in the Gulf. The plankton die and sink. Summer's water is so still that their decomposition uses oxygen until there's too little to support life.
The chemicals have numerous sources, including sewage and runoff from farms and lawns.
Judge Jay Zainey ordered EPA in 2013 to set limits for the chemicals in water, but an appeals court overruled him. The agency says it wants to keep working with states on alternative solutions.