Ratting out violations

I happened upon this post, that referred to this post.

Long and short: the later post advocated citizens running around trying to find and report erosion and sediment control problems in the Atlanta area. Being a legit business person, I really can not agree with this approach. There are other ways to be more effective in doing the right thing….

So it provoked the following response from me:

“Grass roots ratting on developers and builders sounds really great but does not make for good community relationships – actually it destroys them. Better yet – lobby your local governments to enact legislation with funding to PROPERLY regulate construction activities. That is to say – elected government officials should do the right thing for the environment – which is doing the right thing for the people. It has been happening in many areas of the country for many (30) years. The Georgia good old boys seem to be quite a bit behind on this one and it is probably time to wake up. It is easily do-able, if the local governments get their heads out of the dirt and do what is REQUIRED by the EPA.

Regulation is the government’s job – not citizens. It is the job of citizens to lobby legislators to make sure the government is doing their job.

Folks who run around looking at and reporting violations – doing the regulators job for them – are quite often regarded as wackos by the business community. Being regarded as a wacko does not build respect and does not address the big picture. Instead, it can make it easier for the activist to be quickly dismissed.

In the alternative, folks who run around observing and documenting issues – and then build cases to present to there government officials and legislators (in cooperation with appropriate organizations) – are respected in the business community. Work within the system and you will be more effective at righting the wrongs. Be a busy-body that is “playing regulator” and you will experience disrespect and frustration.”

Whew, got that out….


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2 Responses to Ratting out violations

  1. Gary says:

    I wrote the original post, that you refering to, and I agree with you, about not poisoning community relationships. But I have to point out that many municipalites that don’t have the funding to adequately monitor the construction sites actually encourage their citizens to call in violations on all manner of things. That way the regulator can then make it to the site and handle the problem, if one exists. This makes since in Wisconsin, where there is really only one or two regulators for the entire northern half of the state.

    I’m not saying that the citizen should handle matters on their own; merely bring it to the attention of the proper authorities. When you see a crime in progress, you call the police. If you see a bad stormwater situation, you call the appropriate regulator to handle it in the appropriate way.

  2. Pingback: Construction Runoff Returned : American Rivers Blog

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