WASHINGTON (October 17, 2007) – The Environmental Protection Agency must act now to set nutrient pollution standards and implement pollution control for the Mississippi River system, according to a new water quality report released by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) yesterday.
The report shows how conservation programs in the Farm Bill can contribute to lowering pollution in the river, and how increased biofuels production could exacerbate existing pollution problems in both the Mississippi and in the Gulf of Mexico.
Following is a statement by Jon Devine, senior attorney with the Clean Water Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):
“This report demonstrates that EPA has failed to lead when it comes to protecting one of the Nation’s signature water bodies – the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is a major water artery for the United States, pumping water, sediment and nutrient pollution to at least 10 states directly touching the river. It’s hard to imagine how this river could be neglected when its health affects so many. EPA needs to use the tools it has available through the Clean Water Act to quickly regain control over nutrient pollution.”
“In addition, Congress needs to commit more conservation funding within the Farm Bill so taxpayers get more conservation from every dollar. We need to address our biofuels policies to improve environmental and energy security performance rather than simply increasing the volume of production.”