"The Iowa Environmental Council and a raft of other nonprofit groups have sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, contending the agency and the state of Iowa haven’t done enough to keep nitrogen and phosphorus out of the Mississippi River.
The pollution not only fouls Iowa’s waterways, but also contributes to a largely lifeless “dead zone” roughly the size of Massachusetts each summer in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the nation’s prized shrimping areas.
The groups contend in a lawsuit announced Wednesday that the EPA is required to set numerical limits on the pollutants under the federal Clean Water Act. Both elements occur naturally and are key ingredients in fertilizer for crops, yards and golf courses. They also come from sewage-treatment plants.
The pollutants carried by the Mississippi River causes algae blooms that deplete oxygen levels in the water as the algae die.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in New Orleans, is in response to a decision by the EPA last year to reject the environmental group’s 2008 petition seeking to force it to set the standards. In its response, the EPA acknowledges the pollution is a serious environmental issue but says it has relied largely on states to take action. Iowa and other states, in turn, have said they were waiting for the EPA to set firm guidelines before acting.”
Des Moines Register