LA Dept. of Environmental Quality Loses Millions

March 8, 2007

Reported by Associated Press

A new report says the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality is losing 9.8 million dollars each year because it does not charge industrial facilities enough for emissions.

Provisions in the federal Clean Air Act allow states to charge industrial facilities a minimum dollar figure per ton up to 4,000 tons for air releases of pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and ozone-causing compounds. States also can large less than the minimum by proving to federal officials that the lower amount collected will cover the cost of the Clean Air Act program.

The report, released by the Environmental Integrity Project, doesn't believe that's the case in Louisiana or 17 other states. Thomas Bickham, special assistant to D.E.Q. Secretary Mike McDaniel, disagrees. He said this year the program should cost 3.94 million dollars to run and take in 3.92 million dollars in emission fees.

Instead of charging $39.48 cents per ton, Louisiana charges $12.83 cents per ton of pollution released by industrial facilities.