Feds need to get tough on bringing life to dead zone
By Allen Lottinger - Dec 25, 2008
The feds in Washington have made many mistakes during the past four years. One of them has been efforts to control the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico just off the Louisiana coast.
The area in which fish find it difficult to stay alive was about the size of the State of Rhode Island six years ago. Despite attempts to reduce it in size, it is still the size of Rhode Island, perhaps a bit bigger.
The reason why the effort has been so ineffective is because they have left it up to the farmers in the midwest to cut down on the amount of fertilizer that enters the Mississippi River which flows down into the Gulf and deprives the fish of oxygen.
That voluntary effort did not go very far when there were premium prices and even government subsidies for growing corn for ethanol production that was to save the world from gasoline emissions. And the ethanol equation has not worked.
Most of the farmers guilty of the act are in the midwest, around Illinois. That is where our next President got his political support which led to winning his job.
We couldnít get George W., a neighboring Texan, to get overly concerned about our dilemma in the Gulf. Can we expect our President-elect from Illinois to do otherwise?
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency and U. S. Agriculture Department are faced with the need to live up to the reason why they occupy a large part of our federal bureaucracy. They are exploring ways that will end the problem.
Whatever they come up with will have to have force behind it. We have seen what voluntary efforts produce.
We canít wait any longer. Fish are as important to our diets as corn. And if we were killing their corn, we doubt there would be any hesitation in stopping us forcefully.
Carolyn enters the scene once again
We used to enjoy watching young Caroline Kennedy tromp behind her dad, the President, during television broadcasts of the worldís happenings. Now she wants to tromp up to the microphone in the U.S. Senate and help direct those world happenings.
Middle-aged Caroline has entered her name in the race to replace Hillary Clinton who will become Secretary of State soon. And she could very well be successful.
Some say she is not senate material but only the daughter of a U. S. President who was assasinated. Maybe not but she has a respected heritage which could carry her into office.
Maybe Carolyn will prove that she canít handle the job during the two years remaining in Hillaryís term. Of course, there are a lot of senators up there who are regularly re-elected who canít either.
But that is the way our democratic system works. And Carolyn, whom we admired as a child, may show us otherwise.
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