Industrial Corn's Solution for Gulf Oil Spill? Create Bigger Nitrogen Dead Zone!

Categories: Doggy Bag

Nitrogen-filled sediment flowing from the Mississippi into the Gulf, as seen from space.
​Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Shucked: Grist's Tom Philpott registers outrage ― outrage! ― in Big Corn's positioning re: the Gulf oil oil spill. Philpott, take it away:

As if being bombarded with oil from below and chemical dispersants from above weren't enough, the Gulf of Mexico also has to endure marketing rhetoric from a long-time tormentor: the corn industry.
See, it's nitrogen fertilizer leaching from gigantor Midwest cornfields that create that annual New Jersey-size dead zone in the Gulf, that so-called bottom-water hypoxia that's the direct result of industrial-scale corn production, which has gotten ever bigger in the era of ethanol mandates from the government.

But rather than staying quiet at a time of calamity, Big Corn is seizing the oil-slicked moment.

Philpott quotes the Nebraska Corn Board:

As those along the Gulf Coast work tirelessly to manage a disaster due to an offshore oil drilling accident, this tragic situation provides even greater impetus for others to move the ball forward on renewable fuels.
That is, growing even more corn, with even more poisonous seepage assailing unimaginably stunned Gulf ecosystems. Philpott wraps up the outrage in a neat package:
It's a brazen move, like a con man helping a victim of a brutal mugging stand so he can pick what's left of his pockets. Besieged ecosystems like the Gulf need real protection, not opportunistic rhetoric from industries that contribute to their destruction.
Yeah. Grrr.

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