Louisiana Flunks at Enforcing Air, Water Laws: EPA Inspector General

"Louisiana is among the worst states at enforcing federal clean air, clean water and hazardous waste laws, and the Environmental Protection Agency should either force Louisiana and fellow laggards to do a better job, or enforce the laws itself, according to a report released Monday by EPA’s inspector general."

"The report does not spotlight specific environmental problems caused by Louisiana’s lax regulatory regime, focusing instead on a broad failure to carry out required inspections and cite violators. It concludes that the weak enforcement might be driven in part by 'a culture in which the state agency is expected to protect industry.'

Citizen groups have frequently targeted the state agency charged with enforcing federal environmental laws: the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. One complaint against DEQ in 2001 triggered a comprehensive audit by the EPA, resulting in major changes in state enforcement."

Mark Schleifstein reports for the New Orleans Times-Picayune December 12, 2011.

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/13/2011