Thursday, July 02, 2015

Turning the environment over to big business

BIG AG IS CONQUERING MINNESOTA LIKE A NOXIOUS, UNKILLABLE WEED

BY HANNAH SAYLE
City Pages

Dip your paddle into Lake Crystal on some muggy afternoon, and it will return lathered in a soupy green slime. Each summer, algae sludge forms a thick seal on the water's surface.

It's toxic and cruelly pervasive. One dog died last month after being poisoned by Red Rock Lake in Douglas County. Three more were killed by the blue-green foam in 2014.

Children have been warned away: Touching or breathing in the foul-smelling toxin could bring on vomiting, rash, and liver damage.

There are no more swimmable lakes in southwestern Minnesota, a 1,783-square-mile stretch that spans six counties. Dangerous levels of phosphorous, nitrogen, and bacteria like E. Coli will take decades to clean up, says the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The problem extends along our southern border, where rampant pollution threatens the safety of drinking water.

Legislators hem and haw about potential causes. The science isn't so mealy-mouthed: The bulk of the pollution is from factory farms and fertilizer runoff.

(Continued here.)

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