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Published November 20, 2013, 10:33 AM

MPCA official going to Washington to talk nitrates

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A leading Minnesota Pollution Control Agency official will be in Washington on Thursday for a White House-organized brainstorming session on reducing nitrate contamination in the Mississippi River basin.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A leading Minnesota Pollution Control Agency official will be in Washington on Thursday for a White House-organized brainstorming session on reducing nitrate contamination in the Mississippi River basin.

Rebecca Flood, the MPCA's assistant commissioner for water policy, said Wednesday she'll be the only state government official among a group of around 20 national experts who will do some "outside-the-box thinking" on how to provide incentives for reducing nitrate pollution, which comes in large part from agricultural runoff and contributes to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

The idea is to come up with a "game-changer," she said.

The meeting is being organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology and the White House Rural Council, with participation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Flood said she was invited because Minnesota is ahead of other states in addressing nitrate pollution. She pointed to work the state is doing using dedicated clean water funds and its efforts to develop a nitrate reduction strategy.

Flood didn't want to delve too deeply into her ideas before presenting them to the group, but she said they revolve around giving farmers better incentives to change their practices and put a higher priority on protecting the environment.

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