For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

EWG Public Affairs 202-667-6982

Gulf Dead Zone Cause and Cure Known, Action Still Required

Remarks by Environmental Working Group to the Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Public Meeting

DES MOINES - A representative from the Washington, D.C. based Environmental
Working Group (EWG) has been asked to present remarks to the
Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force Public
Meeting held today in Des Moines, IA. In his remarks, EWG Midwest
Vice-President Craig Cox provided a clear-eyed and no-nonsense
assessment of the state of pollution flowing into the Mississippi River
Basin and how it contributes to the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone.

EWG recently opened a Midwest office in Ames, IA to effectively
address the growing threat modern agriculture poses to the environment.
Cox manages EWG's agriculture programs from the Ames, IA office.

"The fundamental problem we face is not lack of technology or
solutions. The problem is poor policy and institutional inertia," Cox
said in his remarks.

However, in a move welcomed by EWG and reported by the Associated
Press this morning, US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
intends to inject $320 million in dedicated pollution clean up funds to
the 12 states encompassed in the Mississippi River Basin.

"We commend Secretary Vilsack for bringing more federal support to
bear on a region in desperate need of assistance," Cox said. "Coupling
an increase in funds with better enforcement of conservation compliance
and better policies to mitigate toxic run-off will go a long way to
solving the Dead Zone problem," Cox added.

The Mississippi River Gulf of Mexico Watershed Nutrient Task Force,
consisting of five federal agencies and 10 state agencies, was brought
together in 1997 to develop and implement an action plan to reduce the
Gulf Dead Zone. Agriculture has been identified as the single largest
contributor of pollution flowing into the Mississippi River Basin.

Go here for the full text of Craig Cox's comments:


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The mission of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) is to use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment. EWG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles.

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