St. Charles Herald-Guide

Feds need to get tough on bringing life to dead zone

By Allen Lottinger - December 23, 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.
Now it is time to put some guts into our demands that farmers quit letting their fertilizers overflow into the river to hurt our fishing industry. But there may be a problem in doing that.

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?
Of course, Obama is a nice guy and he may take up the fight for what is right. Our senators and congressmen up there should talk to him about his responsibilities to the entire country.

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.
There was Russell Long who became senator after his father was shot as governor in the state capitol of Louisiana. And recently, there was George W. Bush who succeeded his father as President Many others were successful in achieving high positions because they were offsprings of others who served in 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.