EPA to Address Nitrogen Pollution

The federal agency should reduce harmful nitrogen emissions by 25 percent in the next two decades, a new report says.

Aug 23, 2011
Cristina Luiggi

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The scientific advisory board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report last week urging the federal agency to take measures in cutting the amount of nitrogen pollution by 25 percent over the next 20 years. In contrast to inert nitrogen gas, reactive nitrogen compounds, such as those used in fertilizers and produced during fossil fuel combustion, can wreak havoc in many of the Earth’s habitats by contributing to ozone depletion, algal blooms, air pollution, and the acidification of land and water ecosystems, among other things. The report concludes that the agency can reduce the amount of human-produced reactive nitrogen going into the environment through the regulation of power plant emissions and the creation of wetlands that collect nitrogen fertilizer runoff, ScienceInsider reports.