At stake: the safety of the state’s drinking water and the health of fish and other aquatic life in its rivers and streams. And far downstream, the future of the Gulf of Mexico, where the oxygen-deprived “dead zone” is linked to nitrogen compounds carried to it from the agricultural heartland via the Mississippi River.
Nitrogen contamination in the southern half of Minnesota is so severe that 27 percent of the state’s lakes and rivers could not be used as drinking water, according to a new and unexpectedly blunt assessment of the state’s most prevalent form of water pollution.
The Clean Water Accountability Act (CWAA) passed earlier this year works to cleanup waterways through more effective monitoring strategies, priority funding for non-point source pollution and clearer benchmarks and timetables.
On May 9, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed a long-feared milestone. Scientists at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii reported it reached a concentration of 400 parts per million, something not seen on the Earth for millions of years.