Ribble pushes federal legislation to target ‘dead zones’

U.S. Representative Reid Ribble is a sponsor of H.R. 3120, the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act of 2015, a bill he says would help equip farmers to reduce excess nutrient loading that has seen water bodies including the Bay of Green Bay suffer seasonal “dead zones.” H.R. 3120 would create an initiative for states in the Great Lakes Basin to establish “innovative, proactive programs that help farms of all sizes and all commodities to prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks.” Ribble has hosted a series of listening sessions and stakeholder meetings prompted in part by highly publicized research – some of it involving UW-Green Bay faculty, students and alumni – showing phosphorous-laden runoff is causing algae blooms and oxygen problems in the bay. If you’re interested in the topic, the Wisconsin State Farmer news site had an ag-centric view of Ribble’s project posted online. The piece quotes experts including local dairyman Gordon Spiers and UWGB watershed specialist Prof. Kevin Fermanich of Natural and Applied Sciences.