Why are we fertilizing the Gulf of Mexico

June 21, 2007 at 2:02 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

There is one place where fertilizer provides no benefits. And that is in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast.
In fact, it is deadly there - - to fish that is one of the mainstays of our state’s economy.

Yet we are continuously fertilizing those waters. And it makes algae grow there and use up the oxygen that the fish need to grow and produce more fish.

The fertilizer drifts down the Mississippi River from farms and sewage disposal plants in the midwestern states. Since the early nineties, the federal government has asked farmers and communities along the river to limit the amount of such discharges that would cause that algae growth. Evidently this request for voluntary action has done no good.

The size of the dead zone now is bigger than ever - - as large as the state of Connecticut. It is now time to change that voluntary program to something more demanding.

Farming is becoming more popular in the midwest because of the prospect our power needs of the future will increase the need for ethanol which is produced from corn. And the dead zone can only get worse as those voluntary efforts recede into the background of the economics of producing corn.

ne of the purposes of government is to protect the territory of its citizens from the detrimental encroachment of others. And the coast of Louisiana is scene of one such encroachment.

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