While there are state and federal regulations in place to protect our citizens, environment, and natural resources, there are entities out there that disregard those laws. When they do that, they are not only harming our planet but the people within our communities. If you’ve been affected by another party’s illegal environmental actions, our environmental law team can help.
Environmental law exists to protect and regulate our natural resources for the benefit of everyone. If a person or company breaks an environmental law and others suffer as a result, that party should be held accountable for their actions, so they do not harm anyone again. You may be concerned about the possible risks you and your family could be subjected to. Let’s take a look at some of the primary environmental concerns Arkansas residents should know about.
Water Quality and Aquatic Ecosystems
Drinking water is one of our most precious resources. When individuals or groups act negligently around our water sources, the effects can be detrimental. One of the more susceptible water sources is groundwater. Groundwater is the water that is found beneath the land’s surface. When this source is contaminated, our drinking water, agricultural industry, and aquatic ecosystems are all negatively impacted.
Groundwater can be contaminated by a variety of sources. Most of those sources are agricultural, commercial, industrial, and residential. As a result, individuals who drink the water can fall ill, local habitats can change and kill off the animals and plants living there, and the value of local land can depreciate.
Severe temperature spikes and varying precipitation levels also affect our aquatic habitats and farmlands. As the water temperatures rise, oxygen levels begin to decrease. Fish, insects, plants, and bacteria suffer as a result. When we experience extreme rainfalls, the pollution runoffs increase. Sediments, nitrogen-rich fertilizers, and agricultural waste degrade our water quality.
Air pollution is a concern for everyone. While Arkansas is one of a few states that consistently meets the federal air quality standards for pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead, and particulates, this does not mean we should be unconcerned about our air quality.
On average, an adult breathes over 3,000 gallons of air per day. Children breathe even more air per pound of body weight, which makes them more susceptible to pollutants in the air. If our air quality starts to decrease, there will be negative health consequences for our residents.
Common sources that contribute to air pollution are motor vehicles, wild fires, and coal power generation. Agricultural production can also contribute to poor air quality because of pesticides from aerial drift, nitrogen oxide emissions, methane emissions, windblown soil from erosion, and fine particulates released from diesel engines and controlled biomass burning.
Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry. It contributes approximately $16 billion to the state’s economy every year. Our major exports include rice, soybeans, cotton, poultry, and feed grains. While we discussed above how the agricultural industry can contribute to our environmental concerns when it comes to water and air pollution and contamination, it’s important to recognize that there are environmental hazards that can negatively impact this industry as well.
As atmospheric temperatures rise and droughts become a reoccurring issue, crops and livestock suffer. Irrigation requirements change, which costs farmers more money, and crops become more susceptible to pests. Pollutants in our water and air contribute to instances of crop damage. Crop damage can be incredibly damaging to livestock, the economy, and the citizens who rely on those food supplies. The rise in carbon dioxide in the soil also contributes to smaller crops.
The temperature and precipitation rates also impact protein production. Droughts can decrease livestock numbers and births. Warmer temperatures impact milk productivity. When cows are hot, they eat less. When they’ve consumed less, milk production can decrease by more than 25%.
If you or your loved ones have been injured because of exposure to environmental pollution, our environmental lawyers are prepared to help you seek the justice you deserve. We believe in protecting Arkansas citizens from preventable environmental hazards and addressing environmental concerns before they affect what matters most—our families and well-being.
At McMath Woods P.A, we have decades of experience navigating this complex area of law and will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. If you have questions about environmental litigation or are ready to move forward with your case, contact our office today.