Our laws are meaningless without adequate enforcement.
Unfortunately, enforcement of water pollution laws has been substandard for too long. Polluters often go unnoticed, or unpunished, unless vigilant citizens and groups fight their way through complex administrative processes and costly court battles. Fines and administrative actions are often ineffective as deterrents or are inconsistently applied.
How Alabama Can Take Action
Strengthen enforcement policies to act as a deterrent of violations.
Develop a better method for applying fines and fees to water protection and restoration projects in the state. In addition, provide the public with better access to information about violations of environmental regulations and enforcement actions being taken.
Clear pollution prevention policies will help to make sure that violations of environmental regulations are dealt with swiftly, decisively, and in a consistent and fair manner. Where necessary, agencies must be provided with sufficient authority and funding from the legislature to ensure adequate enforcement resources.
How the Alabama Rivers Alliance is working to promote better enforcement of environmental law
Petition to the US Fish & Wildlife Service
The Alabama Rivers Alliance has joined the Center for Biological Diversity and seven other groups to formally petition the Secretaries of Interior and Commerce under the Endangered Species Act to list over 400 aquatic, riparian, and wetland species from the Southeastern U.S. as threatened or endangered and to designate critical habitats to receive increased protections. This will require local, state, and federal governments to consider the impacts to these species before allowing further destruction of the environment. Click here to learn more.
Petition to the Environmental Protection Agency
The Alabama Rivers Alliance and thirteen partner organizations from across the state officially submitted a petition indentifying 26 separate areas where the State of Alabama was neglecting its responsibilities under the federal laws outlined in the Clean Water Act. The petition requested that the Environmental Protection Agency remove the Alabama Department of Environmental Management's authority over its water pollution permitting process. Click here to learn more.