The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 24, 2013

Ag lobby will stop progress on pollution

I attended a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency open house where a strategy to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution — ultimately by 45 percent in the Mississippi River drainage — was put forward. “Ultimately” could be a long time.

The MPCA and its counterparts in the other 11 states along the great river, and the EPA, will continue to be seriously underfunded.

High intensity field drainage will bring more floods down, more quickly, causing greater soil erosion; this in turn will increase the number of particles to which phosphorus adheres.

We have known for 20 years that the hypoxic zone in the Gulf of Mexico has been expanding, and that ag runoff in the Minnesota River basin has been a major contributor. Nothing decisive will be done to solve these problems because of ag political lobbies in state legislatures and Congress.

Lest we underestimate the power of those lobbies, consider: For a generation we have been eating food animals dosed on antibiotics to keep them alive in confinement. The same antibiotics are used in human medicine, thus reducing their potency in our own therapy.

No legislation that I know of, state of federal, has been passed to regulate the use of antibiotics in animal feeding.

Walter O. Jones

Lake Crystal

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