Environmental Justice and Public Health in the Western District of Arkansas
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas enforces federal laws that protect human health and the environment. Arkansas is “the Natural State,” and Western Arkansas is home to the breathtaking Ozarks, beautiful lakes and rivers, and vast swaths of forest and wilderness—all of which not only support human health and the economy but are important to the many plants and animals native to the area. Indigenous people first lived on these lands, cultivating, and protecting resources for future generations, and left behind many signs of their presence. Also, the Arkansas River is the largest tributary of the Mississippi, and this district contains the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which moves $1 billion to $2 billion in trade transportation in Arkansas and from $100 million to $1 billion in trade transportation in neighboring Oklahoma. The system has numerous flood protection projects, hydro power plants, and soil conservation recreational areas, and its wetlands are a crucial wildlife habitat. These importance of our state’s natural environment cannot be overstated; it is an irreplaceable resource, and we must safeguard our lands, waters, and wildlife for future generations.
Various federal laws safeguard the environment and public health by protecting our air and water from pollution, requiring safe storage and removal of waste and toxic substances, ensuring safe drinking water, reducing childhood exposure to lead, requiring the safe removal of asbestos, preventing and prosecuting the theft of and damage to natural resources, and preventing and prosecuting archaeological theft. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas makes it a priority to enforce these laws and protect our resources for communities, fishing, hunting, agriculture, and a healthy, high quality of life which makes our region safer, stronger, and more enjoyable.
What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Some Federal Environmental Laws
- Clean Air Act
- Clean Water Act
- Safe Drinking Water Act
- "The Superfund Act"
- Toxic Substances Control Act
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Contacting the U.S. Attorney’s Office to Report Concerns
Through casework, the United States Attorney’s Office enforces federal environmental laws that are designed to protect human health and the environment. The office seeks to hold polluters accountable for their actions and combat the climate crises through cases that make our communities safer and stronger. Many of these cases originate from public reporting and information. Cases brought must always include a partner agency that conducts the investigation, but can be started through a report to the USAO.
The office welcomes public reporting regarding possible environmental, health, and climate impacts on individuals and communities within our district. You can submit information or concerns regarding the environment by email, mail, or phone.
You can send your information or concerns by email to: USAARW-Environment@usdoj.gov
To submit a complaint or concern by telephone, please call: (479) 494-4075
You can send your information or concerns by mail to:
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Arkansas
414 Parker Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901
Attn: Environmental Justice Coordinator
Federal Resources for Further Information, and Reporting Potential Violations
The United States Attorney’s Office works closely with our federal agencies partners to investigate and enforce violations of environmental laws. Here is how to report the violations:
If the violation concerns air quality, climate change, health, water, chemicals and toxins (including lead paint), or land, waste, and cleanup, contact the Environmental Protection Agency at https://echo.epa.gov/report-environmental-violations.
If the violation concerns an oil or chemical spill, contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-88022.
If the violation concerns pesticides harming wildlife, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (734) 995-0387, www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips, or 1-800-344-9453.
If the violation concerns the destruction of wetlands, contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office wetlands hotline at 1-800-832-7828.
If the violation concerns workplace conditions, such as chemicals or noxious fumes contact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 1-800-321-6742.
If the violation concerns housing conditions, contact the Department of Housing & Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) at 1-800-347-3735.
If the violation concerns transportation of hazardous materials or a pipeline, contact the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) at 1-800-424-9071 or email@example.com.
If the violation concerns medications, cosmetics, biological products, and other products for human consumption, contact the FDA at 1-888-463-6332.
If the violation concerns discriminatory environmental and health impacts caused by recipients of federal funds, contact our office at USAARW-Environment@usdoj.gov or (479) 494-4075, or DOJ Civil Rights at 1-888-TITLE-06 (1-888-848-5306).
If the violation involves public corruption, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at https://tips.fbi.gov/.
Within the Department of Justice, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division assists United States Attorneys’ Offices in both criminal and civil cases involving environmental laws.
Additionally, the substantial overlap that exists between protecting people and places prompted the Department of Justice to create an Office of Environmental Justice.
State Resources for Reporting Potential Violations
Additionally, the United States Attorney’s Office has developed rewarding partnerships with Arkansas State agencies to investigate and enforce violations of environmental laws. Here is how to report violations to them: