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Posted Wed Sep 16 2009: from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
Biofuel production could undercut efforts to shrink Gulf 'Dead Zone'
Scientists in Pennsylvania report that boosting production of crops used to make biofuels could make a difficult task to shrink a vast, oxygen-depleted "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico more difficult. The zone, which reached the size of Massachusetts in 2008, forms in summer and threatens marine life and jobs in the region.... the zone forms when fertilizers wash off farm fields throughout the Mississippi River basin and into the Gulf of Mexico. The fertilizers cause the growth of algae, which eventually depletes oxygen in the water and kills marine life. Government officials hope to reduce fertilizer runoff and shrink the zone to the size of Delaware by 2015. But that goal could be more difficult to reach due to federally-mandated efforts to increase annual biofuel production to 36 billion gallons by 2022, the study says.
[Read more stories about: unintended consequences, dead zones, corporate farming]

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Rubrick says: "Hey. I know. Let's pour the plastic gyre down the drain of the dead zone. Won't that get rid of it?"

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'Doc Jim says:
Our "dead zone" is still smaller than that Texas-sized plastic gyre in the Pacific -- how embarrassing, to be #2.

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