Lack of Enforcement 

The state of enforcement of environmental laws in Louisiana is harrowing. Agencies charged with oversight and enforcement are often the perpetrators of environmental degradation. Additionally, the legislature continually fails to account for the importance of the Atchafalaya Basin in allocating funds for agencies to oversee protection and enforcement, and in endorsing deleterious projects. In the face of global climate change, rising sea level and coastal erosion, and an increasing threat of storms and flooding, the Atchafalaya Basin is essential to protect much of southern Louisiana from flooding. In spite of this fact, the legislature and accompanying agencies continually make choices that belie this critical truth as public funds are used to fill these critically valued wetlands

Although the Corps of Engineers is the main federal agency with regulatory powers in wetlands, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper has undertaken the role of primary enforcer in the Basin. The Corps’ Enforcement Department is paltry, with only one officer overseeing permit enforcement and no boat to access the Basin for “on the water” enforcement. With collaboration from local groups, such as the Louisiana Crawfish Producers Association–West, and legal representation from the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, Basinkeeper has successfully challenged illegal activities and permit exceedances in the Basin. Unfortunately, the ability to challenge unpermitted conduct and advocate for permit enforcement has become more and more tenuous.

Despite the paltry state of enforcement, Basinkeeper continues to advocate for environmental compliance and accountability to protect this irreplaceable national treasure. Increased funding would greatly improve our effectiveness. 

Atchafalaya Basinkeeper
P.O. Box 410
Plaquemine, LA 70765
cell: 225-685-9439
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