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What funding enables this organization's work and likely shapes their way of thinking about environmental, health and disaster governance?

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 7:33pm

The LDEQ in recent years is underfunded and understaffed compared to previous years. Budget cuts and employee cutbacks are shown through the Environmental Integrity Project Report: During a Time of Cutbacks at EPA, 30 States Also Slashed Funding for State Environmental Agencies. Images below show Louisiana DEQ cutbacks. Red signifies the most cut backs while blue siginifies increased spending or employment by state. 

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How is this organization perceived by the media and other observers?

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 7:33pm

The agency is widely criticized as biased by environmental groups within the Parishes. Conflicts of interest have been cited due to the way in which the department generates funds and can expedite permit approvals. In ProPublica articles, the DEQ has been criticized for non-enforcement against polluting industries and doubting EPAs monitoring. https://www.propublica.org/article/in-cancer-alley-toxic-polluters-face-...'s%20Paradise-,In%20%E2%80%9CCancer%20Alley%2C%E2%80%9D%20Toxic%20Polluters%20Face%20Little%20Oversight%20From,the%20chemical%20industry%20it%20regulates.

Most recently, the EPA is pursuing litigation against LDEQ and Louisiana Department of Health alleging that the LDEQ discriminates on the basis of race, violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Complaints filed on behalf of the Sierra Club, Concerned Citizens of St. Johns, Rise St. James, Louisiana Bucket Brigade and others are in regards to the LDEQ air pollution control programs and permitting that subjects residents on the basis of race, and that the failures to protect the health, disproportionately impact the minority communities, subjecting them to adverse health and environmental impacts.

The LDEQ has been critized for favoring industry, economic and business interests over public welfare. The DEQ has been cited as weighing the creation of jobs and land development over the air and communities being polluted. 

Conflicts of interests have been noted through the DEQ expidited permit reviewal process that approves the siting of petrochemical facitilies. If companies want to expidite the permitting process they must pay the DEQ employees overtime. Conflicts of interest have been noted in the structural process of permitting approvals in which the companies pay the regulators that approve them. 

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Who work in or is a member of this organization? What is the organizational structure?

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 7:32pm

The LDEQ consists of five major offices: Office of the Secretary, Office of Management and Finance, Office of Environmental Services, Office of Environmental Compliance, and Office of Environmental Assessment. The Office of Environmental Services is in charge of Air, Waste and water permits. The Office of Environmental Compliance works on surveillance and enforcement. There are multiple regional offices, 8 (shown below in added image), that serve the Parishes. Currently, as of April 2022, Chuck Carr Brown Serves as Secretary.

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What is the mission and status (government, non-profit, academic) of this organization?

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 7:31pm

According to the LDEQ Website, “The mission of the Department of Environmental Quality is to provide service to the people of Louisiana through comprehensive environmental protection in order to promote and protect health, safety and welfare while considering sound policies that are consistent with statutory mandates.”

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