The Gulf: Our National Sinkhole
Environmental woes predate BP, oil spill
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Jul 30, 2010 7:19 AM CDT
Welcome to the Gulf.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(Newser) – Question: What, beside millions of barrels of oil, has been dumped into the Gulf of Mexico? Answer: Just about everything. The crude oozing across the Gulf is just the latest in a string of environmental problems plaguing the region, finds the New York Times. In addition to oil, there are unexploded bombs, chemical weapons, industrial pollutants, and all kinds of farm waste in the water. The story describes a "zone of lifeless water the size of Lake Ontario" off Louisiana's coast.

Weak regulation and low funding are partly to blame. In the last decade, the EPA spent five times as much protecting Chesapeake Bay than it spent on the Gulf. “This has been the nation’s sacrifice zone,” says one environmentalist. “What we’re seeing right now with BP’s crude is just a very photogenic representation of that.” Click here to follow the whole, messy story.