What is the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doing about nutrient pollution?
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put its stamp of approval on DNR standards that do not contain measurable standards for the actual causes of nutrient pollution — nitrogen and phosphorus.
- DNR’s lake nutrient standards have criteria for chlorophyll-a, something that shows up in response to nutrient pollution. When they are present in our lakes in excessive amounts, chlorophyll-a is what makes our lakes appear green and murky.
- By the time we are reacting to chlorophyll-a in our lakes, it is already too late to prevent impairment.
- DNR set their standards for lakes based on what is necessary to protect aquatic life, and not on what is necessary to protect recreation or drinking water.
- In the last few years, DNR changed its mission statement to explicitly include business and agricultural industry interests — the largest contributor to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution.
- Around the same time, the Clean Water Commission (the body that approves DNR’s rulemakings) changed from having mandatory representation from the general public to being entirely composed of pro-industry representatives.