nitrogen pollution

A fast track is the wrong track for water quality

Editorial from Cedar Rapids Gazette. Used with permission.

We read news this week that water quality legislation may be placed on a fast track when lawmakers return to the Statehouse in January. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey wants it to happen. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she hopes “it’s the first bill I get to sign as governor of the state of Iowa.”

That sounds like good news. That is, until you dig into the details.

Group issues scathing report on EPA, states' efforts to reduce nutrient pollution of Mississippi River; cites 2015 'close call' involving QC water supply

Voluntary initiatives by the U.S. EPA and 10 states bordering the Mississippi over the past 20 years have largely failed to rein in harmful nitrogen and phosphorus pollution by cities, farms and industry, according to a scathing report issued today (11/17) by an environmental and legal group focused on protecting the Mississippi River watershed.

"Though the EPA has consistently and emphatically urged states to take measures to combat nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, its encouragement has come without enforceable regulations, specific deadlines or funding for implementation," the report by the Mississippi River Collaborative says. "Not surprisingly, the problem persists, especially in the Mississippi River, despite a variety of Clean Water Act tools and viable regulatory options available to states."

The analysis of nutrient pollution of lakes, rivers and streams in the Mississippi River watershed – entitled "Decades of Delay" – says the 10 states bordering the country's longest river have failed to establish any numeric limits for nitrogen discharges and only two states have set numeric limits for phosphorus pollution.

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