Heavy rainfall in the Midwest this spring has led to flood conditions, with states like Minnesota and Illinois experiencing some of the wettest spring seasons on record. And all that flooding means a lot more nitrogen-based fertilizer running off into the Gulf. According to an annual estimate from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sponsored modelers at the University of Michigan, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, this year’s dead zone could be as large as 8,561 sq. miles—roughly the size of New Jersey. That would make it the biggest dead zone on record. And even the low end of the estimate would place this year among the top 10 biggest dead zones on record. Barring an unlikely change in the weather, much of the Gulf of Mexico could become an aquatic desert. [...]
The major factor driving the size of the dead zone—beyond changing flooding patterns—is the use and overuse of fertilizers in America’s rich Midwestern corn belt. The U.S. Geological Survey estimated that 153,000 metric tons of nutrients flowed down the swollen Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers during May—a 16% increase over the nutrient load average seen during the past 34 years.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2002—Sludge is now good for fish:
|Just when I think the Bush Administration can't shock me anymore, they gleefully prove me wrong. You see, according to an internal EPA report, dumping toxic sludge into the Potomac River is good for fish. The sludge is dumped into the river in violation of the Endangered Species Act and Clear Water Act. The Washington Times notes:
The document says it is not a "ridiculous possibility" that a discharge "actually protects the fish in that they are not inclined to bite (and get eaten by humans) but they go ahead with their upstream movement and egg laying."
The Bush administration is a blatant enemy of environmental regulation, but the extremes they will travel to justify their polluting is bizarre. California Rep. George Radanovich, a Republican, was flabbergasted
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, NN13 looms large! Greg Dworkin remembers NNs past in his roundup, plus stories on Rick Perry's job poaching junket to CT, new NSA polls, and more gut vs quant sparring. Greg also notes the passing of Michael Hastings, with a few stories looking back on his fearless style. Armando called in from the road, noting he'll be reporting from San Jose, as will the larger Netroots Radio team. #GunFAIL news yields typically amazing results. McConnell's lame "threat" on the nuclear option. Lastly, the free market says "derp" to the NRA's terrible "arm the teachers" idea.