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    http://ens.lycos.com/ens/may2002/2002L-05-10-05.html Environmental Prosecutor Wins Case Against Justice Department By Jim Crabtree CLEVELAND, Ohio, May 10,
    Message 1 of 1 , May 23, 2002
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      Environmental Prosecutor Wins Case Against Justice Department

      By Jim Crabtree

      "CLEVELAND, Ohio, May 10, 2002 (ENS) - For the first time a federal
      prosecutor has won a case against the Department of Justice for
      harassment stemming from attempts to prosecute environmental crimes.
      In a decision Thursday, a U.S. Department of Labor Court ruled that
      the Department of Justice (DOJ) cannot retaliate against its own
      prosecutors for investigating crimes."

      Number of low oxygen "dead zones" in the world's coastal waters has
      doubled from 50 to 100 since 1995 due to fertilizers in farm runoff
      fueling the overproduction of algae.

      "The Black and Baltic Seas and the Gulf of Mexico top the list of
      water bodies suffering from a low-oxygen condition known as hypoxia.
      Unfortunately, the list is getting longer. The condition typically
      follows the overproduction of algae [an algae bloom]. When the algae
      die, they sink to the seafloor, where bacteria consume them. But
      these bacteria use up oxygen - and so carve out hypoxic or low-oxygen
      zones that choke fish and other organisms. It's a natural process,
      but human activity - mainly fertilizers in farm runoff - stimulate
      the overproduction of algae, leading to the development of new
      hypoxic zones.

      For more than a decade Robert Diaz, a marine biologist at the
      Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has been mapping the world's
      hypoxic zones. He says the number of hypoxic zones on his map has
      doubled since 1995, from 50 to about 100. "[S]ome of these are new to
      hypoxia in the last five, six years and some of them are just zones
      that have just recently been studied because hypoxia is becoming more
      and more a factor in a lot of environmental assessments. ... But our
      conclusion is that while more attention is being paid by the
      scientific community - so that makes the number go up - there
      actually are more systems that have gone hypoxic for the first time."

      The "dead" zones concentrate on the ocean floor and strangle bottom-
      dwelling fish and other creatures. And low sea-floor oxygen levels
      can also alter species diversity throughout the ecosystem, for
      example, by forcing out some bottom-dwelling fish.

      Diaz has studied what happens after a hypoxic summer in the Gulf of
      Mexico. "You can go there in the middle of winter and collect
      organisms from the bottom - sample the bottom sediments - and you
      will see that something is wrong: that the species composition isn't
      what it should be for a good, healthy, shallow continental shelf
      muddy bottom. So the longterm signature of hypoxia is left in the
      fauna. And this is a factor that you can see all over the globe...."


      Bush Administration Approves Most Damaging Change to Clean Water Act
      in Decades...

      "On Wednesday, a bipartisan group of 57 members of the House of
      Representatives, led by Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sent a letter to
      Administrator Whitman conveying their "strong opposition" to the
      proposed rule. "This rule change is a clear attempt to legalize the
      destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, where coal
      companies literally blow the tops off of mountains and dump the waste
      into nearby valleys and streams," stated the House letter.
      In March, a dozen senior House Republicans led by Representative
      Chris Shays (R-CT) also wrote to President Bush, urging him to
      reconsider "this ill-advised and dangerous rulemaking" to allow waste
      disposal in waters.

      "The bipartisan opposition to this waste dumping rule has been
      significant and growing as Senators and Representatives have learned
      about the threat it poses to waters in their districts," said
      Mulhern. "While this rule is being motivated by the administration's
      desire to legalize the illegal waste dumping practices of the coal
      industry, its effects will be nationwide. Every stream, wetland,
      river, and lake in the country will be placed at risk of becoming a
      dumping ground for mining waste, construction debris, even garbage." "


      NASA to View Interaction of Earth's Water and Climate
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