Press Release: Enforcement campaign seeks results

For Immediate Release:
August 21, 2007

Six-week campaign forcing ADEM to respond to long-time polluters

Conservation Alabama and the Alabama Rivers Alliance have initiated a campaign seeking to force the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) to take enforcement action on permit holders who have violated their permits for several years.

On July 5, attorney David Ludder, representing the two organizations, began sending a series of e-mail complaints to ADEM, the Environmental Management Commission (EMC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing the lack of enforcement by ADEM on permit holders who have consistently violated their pollution-control permits. Each day, Mr. Ludder sent an e-mail detailing the lack of enforcement on a unique operator. The violators were self-reported through the ECHO (Enforcement and Compliance History Online) database that is publicly available through the EPA website.

“When permit holders consistently violate their permits for years, and the state environmental agency does nothing more than send notices of violation to the operators, polluters understand that the state is not serious about enforcing environmental laws,” said Ludder.

Since the enforcement campaign began, 28 facilities have been identified in chronic violation with little or no enforcement action by ADEM. So far, ADEM has initiated formal enforcement actions against two of the violators cited in e-mail notices. More enforcement actions are expected.

“It shouldn’t take pressure from our organizations to get the state environmental agency to do its job,” said Adam Snyder, executive director of Conservation Alabama. “We’re pleased to see progress, but some of it is too little, and in some instances, it is too late.”

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