The EPA is seeking a way to bring life back to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, a 5,000- to 7,000-square-mile area from which fish have largely disappeared. The problem is blamed in large part on fertilizer runoff from Midwest farms. The EPA should have a plan in place by next year to address the issue. One of six scenarios under review has farmers lowering their fertilizer use by 20 percent while state and federal agencies restore 5 million acres of wetlands to soak up nitrogen from the runoff.