EPA does not plan to regulate nitrogen levels in Iowa’s water

Gulf of Mexico. Photo by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Flickr

The Des Moines Register reports that the EPA has no plans to regulate nitrogen levels in Iowa’s water. Many farmers use nitrogen fertilizers; the runoff from these fertilizers hurts Iowa’s water quality, and is responsible for creating a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

As described in our On the Radio piece, the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone is an area in the gulf that is unlivable for most marine life. Some years, the dead zone exceeds 22,000 square kilometers. The dead zone is mainly caused by the nitrates and phosphates found in nitrogen fertilizers.

Only three states regulate nitrogen in rivers and streams statewide: Florida, Hawaii and Vermont. Six other states have site-specific regulations – Iowa has none.

Read the Des Moines Register’s full article here.

Learn more about nitrogen and phosphorous pollution from the EPA here.

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