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Animal deaths

Something's fishy: Hundreds of animals, fish and birds from Florida natural lagoon are mysteriously dead

Friday, July 05, 2013 by: PF Louis
Tags: animal deaths, pollution, toxic algae

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(NaturalNews) More events of mass wild-life species deaths are occurring exponentially, usually without explanation. Often the immediate problem is recognized, but what caused the problem remains unknown.

The term "non-point pollution" pops up, indicating that the source of the problem comes from more than one polluter.

Although several usual suspects are named and gathered in the media, they are merely loosely discussed, but not seriously investigated by journalists, government agencies, or legal authorities.

Industrial representatives routinely influence media and government to ignore the situation or, at best, go through the motions, skim the event's surface, and leave with nothing conclusive. Either way, there's no accountability or environmental resolution.

The Gulf BP disaster was a major example of industry's sway over media and government with the worst man-made ecological disasters in the USA ever.

The recent Indian Creek Lagoon crisis in the central east coast of Florida is an enormous ecological disaster that some consider an inexplicable natural occurrence while others call it a non-point (multi-source) pollution problem. [1]

But something is fishy about the circumstances that precipitated this incident.

The Indian Creek killing fields

The Indian River Lagoon stretches out for 156 miles along the eastern Florida coast and has been a leading North American haven of bio-diversity with 600 species of fish and sea mammals and 300 species of birds. They are in jeopardy now.

At one point, dolphin deaths occurred daily while manatees (sea cows) were dying at a rate of one a week. Over 300 pelicans, 46 dolphins, and 111 manatees have died as of June 20 2013. Even worse is the destruction of their natural feeding habitat, 47,000 acres of sea grass beds on the lagoon's shallow water floors. [2]

Algal blooms are a large part of this problem. Some are innately toxic, such as red tides. While others, like brown algae blooms or brown tides, are not toxic, but they destroy the sea grass beds that water creatures need to thrive. [3] One scientist compared losing 47,000 acres of sea grass bed to losing a rain forest.

The non-point pollution's major suspects are mostly connected to fertilizer phosphorous and nitrogen runoff into the lagoon or waterways that connect to the lagoon.

Central Florida is host to a large phosphate mining and fertilizer production industry. It's there that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), back when they actually investigated, discovered that the source of crop failures, dead farm animals, and sick humans in areas near fertilizer plants were from fluorine gas emissions of phosphate fertilizer plants.

So the EPA, back when they had teeth, mandated those plants install scrubbers to trap toxic fluorine gases. But where to dump those scrubbed toxins cheaply? Hey, why not just sell the stuff to municipal water works so they can fluoridate their drinking water?

Thus selling sodium fluoride waste to municipal water works became a large, easy government enforced market. How much this industry contributes to sudden algae blooms that kill off sea life indirectly and/or directly is not easy to determine.

But EarthJustice.org with the slogan on its logo of "Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer," puts it this way: "Powerful interests who profit from free disposal of pollutants in public waterways are fighting new standards, and they have allies in Congress and in Tallahassee (Florida state capitol)." [4]

Since Governor Rick Scott took office in 2009, he has gutted the Federal EPA, reportedly replacing experienced personnel with people from polluting industries. He also put water protection under the Florida DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), which is less stringent than the EPA.

The cherry for polluters' toxic sundae came when Gov. Scott vetoed a congressional bill to fund Florida's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute $2 million to study Indian River's mysterious mass murder and determine its source. [5]

One wonders how much influence the phosphate fertilizer industry has in Tallahassee. When it comes to environmental protection, "tree huggers" are held hostage by corporate-political power.

Sources for this article include:

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk

[2] http://www.tampabay.com

[3] http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/DEE/Waterborne/HABS/

[4] http://earthjustice.org

[5] http://www.huffingtonpost.com

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