EPA doesn’t have to set water limits for 2 fertilizers


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has given the Environmental Protection Agency more time to work with states on limiting runoff of chemicals blamed for oxygen-depleted “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.

Scientists say nitrogen and phosphorus carried down the Mississippi River stimulate plankton blooms in the Gulf. The plankton die and sink. Summer’s water is so still that their decomposition uses oxygen until there’s too little to support life.

The chemicals have numerous sources, including sewage and runoff from farms and lawns.

Judge Jay Zainey ordered EPA in 2013 to set limits for the chemicals in water, but an appeals court overruled him. The agency says it wants to keep working with states on alternative solutions.

 

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