Kelly Beile / 17 May 2019

Federal officials gather in Baton Rouge for latest meeting on Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone

Federal officials with the United States Environmental Protection Agency gathered in downtown Baton Rouge for the hypoxia task force meeting today.

Assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Water Dave Ross, spoke exclusively with Local 33/FOX 44 news. “The Gulf of Mexico is such an important economic engine for this country,” Ross said, “from a recreational standpoint and a fishing standpoint.”

Alongside federal officials were state representatives whose run-off and waterways impact the Mississippi River.

After the panel provided an update on the most recent area measured for the dead zone, the floor was open for public comment.

Deputy director of New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network was the first person to address federal and state officials. Local 33/FOX 44 caught up with Rota after the event.

“We really haven’t seen the results that they want to do,” said Rota, “In 2017, we saw the buggest dead zone ever measured.”

Rota also spoke about the dead zone’s impact on Louisiana’s fisheries. “It does impact our shrimpers. They’re having to travel farther to make their catch,” said Rota.

The task force has set a goal to reduce the size of the dead zone in the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico to 5,000 square kilometers by 2035.