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We saw a couple of stories in our quick run through the news this morning. First, the energy reporter for the Washington Post, Steven Mufson, reminds us that Louisiana hasn’t had an oil-free environment for some time, largely because the state has long accepted the degradations that come with large scale energy development.
“Americans may be torn up by the BP oil spill and its destruction of the Gulf of Mexico’s natural habitat — and torn up we should be — but that habitat has not been pristine for decades,” Mufson wrote. “In many ways, Louisiana made its deal with the devil long ago.”
Mufson reminds us of the “resource curse,” the economic paradox that countries and regions overloaded with mineral wealth are often poor. They have lower living standards, higher morality and less dynamic economies that areas with no mineral advantage. That describes Louisiana to a T. And he describes Louisiana’s long and very close and forgiving attitude toward big oil and gas.
The Des Moines Register’s Dan Piller writes about Michael Owen’s (above) warnings that weeds are quickly growing resistant to herbicides such as Roundup. “I tell them to quit doing what they’re doing now, because it won’t work for long,” said Owen, an Iowa State University agronomy professor. “Iowa is probably about two years away from a serious problem with glyphosate resistance, and it’s better to react now than to wait until it’s too late.”
Owen warns that farmers need to “mix up the herbicides” they use, to stem the development of chemical resistant weeds. Roundup-resistant weeds have already infected Southern cotton and grain crops, but have not yet made their presence known in Iowa’s corn and soybean fields.