On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted in Environmental Law on May 24,2012.
We love Louisiana as much as anyone loves one's home state, but denying that our state has environmental issues would be tantamount to sticking one's head into the sand. Largely because oil and gas companies have run roughshod over landowners' rights and environmental regulations for decades, Louisiana has suffered some pretty severe environmental damage and continues to struggle to find the balance between economically necessary industry and environmental preservation.
Naturally, people look to the government to enact and enforce rules to keep the environment reasonably clean and healthy, both for the sake of nature and for that of people who drink the water, breathe the air and live on the land. But is our state's environmental watchdog, the Department of Environmental Quality, doing enough? One advocacy group says no.
The Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a grassroots citizens' group that focuses mostly on industrial emissions, recently asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to take over because the DEQ has done such a poor job of managing our state's environment. Its chief complaint seems to be that Louisiana refuses to collect regulatory fees and so has no money for enforcing environmental regulations. It claims that Texas, another "industry friendly" state collects $41 per ton of emissions while Louisiana collects just $14. The Bucket Brigade is also frustrated with what it sees as a slow response and lax punishment for pollution episodes at oil and gas refiners
Throwing the DEQ away seems like a pretty drastic step, but then again, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. What do you think? Is the Bucket Brigade overreacting, or do its members have a point?
Source: The New Orleans Times-Picayune, "Watchdog group wants EPA to replace state as industry monitor," Matt Scallan, May 17, 2012
Tags: Environmental Law