|The Sierra Club is one of a dozen environmental groups that filed two federal lawsuits in March 2012 against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aimed at reducing the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.|
The dead zone is an area of water that is so low in oxygen it will not support aquatic life. It is caused by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution discharged from the Mississippi River. At about 9,400 square miles, the dead zone in 2011 was the largest in history.
The first suit accuses the EPA of violating the Clean Water Act by refusing to set state standards on the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus discharged into the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
The second lawsuit involves the failure of the EPA to respond to a petition from environmental groups in 2007 asking that standards be set for the discharge of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Mississippi River from wastewater treatment facilities. Read more.