Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Night of Living Dead Zone Bill

Watery Yin and Yang

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is unfortunately alive and well. Fortunately, Ocean Champions are working hard to promote legislation that will fight this deadly testament to water pollution.

The dead zone is a large area in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico that has little or no oxygen. As if moves through the water column like an ominous shadow, it kills marine life including shellfish and fish.

This suffocating swath is caused by upstream runoff of fertilizers, soil erosion, animal wastes, and sewage into the Mississippi River from major farming states in the Mississippi River Valley, including Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, according to scientists like Monica Bruckner of Montana State University.

Cry foul and support Ocean Champions anyway you can, and look for any opportunities to support and talk to your representatives about legislation that seeks to remedy the dead zone. Check out Ocean Champions' short video starring co-founder David Wilmont.

From the Ocean Champions site: 

Night of the Living Dead Zone Bill

The bill to fight toxic algae and dead zones is alive and walking around Capitol Hill once again!

You know that fighting coastal water pollution has been an Ocean Champions priority for several years. Working closely with our champions, we were able to pass a House bill to fight toxic algae and oceanic dead zones last year. Unfortunately, this good bill died in the Senate at the very end of 2010, coming just short of full passage.  We weren't ready to give up, so we met with key champions early this year to assess another run at reducing toxic algal blooms, and found that bipartisan support for addressing this issues still exists.

On June 1, the fight against coastal water pollution took another step forward as the House Science and Technology Committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee held a hearing on harmful algal blooms (HABs) and dead zones that included consideration of draft legislation.  We haven't yet seen the bill's full language, but are encouraged that the Committee is moving forward on a HABs bill based on the one our champions passed in the House last year.

We’ll be working closely with our champions to help make this bill as strong as possible, and to get it passed. There should be extra motivation in D.C., as the BP oil spill and the Mississippi river basin flooding are expected to make the Gulf of Mexico dead zone bigger than it has ever been.

Just as we did last year, we’ll need your help at critical times to push the bill forward. Together, with a little luck, we may be able to take steps to clean up coastal water!

 More Ocean Champions on the dead zone.

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