Established in 2019 as part of the Transformation and Efficiencies Act of 2019 (Act 910), the new umbrella agency called the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (E&E) absorbed the former Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), which is now named the Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and retains its function as Arkansas's regulatory body in the area of environmental protection. The regulations adopted by the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) are the basis for DEQ's permitting, monitoring and enforcement programs, public involvement activities and other services.
The Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment (E&E) Division of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the state's main environmental protection agency, charged with protecting, enhancing, and restoring the environment for Arkansans. DEQ is headquartered in North Little Rock and has offices and inspectors throughout the state. We maintain partnerships with other agencies and stakeholders, sharing knowledge and expertise to solve problems. We depend on and respond to the concerns of citizens, who are often the first to witness environmental problems.
DEQ's staff of around 400 covers a wide range of duties, from investigating the cause of a massive fish kill to conducting certification or licensing training workshops. We oversee the training and standards for various licensed environmental professionals and enforce safe environmental limits for activities affecting our air, land, and water. In short, our job is to ensure chemical emissions and waste discharges are within safe limits, waste is transported and disposed of safely, and communities are protected from the adverse effects of pollution.
DEQ has three regulatory program offices -- Air Quality, Land Resources, and Water Quality -- that enforce regulations and issue permits. Employees of these offices inspect permitted facilities. When a facility is out of compliance with its permits, DEQ urges voluntary compliance or, if that fails, takes formal enforcement action against the violator to achieve compliance. Severe violations may result in fines or be referred to the state attorney general or local prosecutor for civil or criminal action.
DEQ's Arkansas Energy Office (AEO) promotes energy efficiency, clean technology, and sustainable strategies that encourage economic development, energy security, and the environmental well-being for all citizens of Arkansas. AEO offers help for businesses, communities, and residents through home energy scores, energy performance contracting, and partnerships to reduce petroleum consumption for transportation, energy technology loans, weatherization assistance, low income home energy assistance, and other strategies.
Federal environmental laws set environmental policy and standards for the nation. Arkansas-specific environmental laws are made by the Arkansas Legislature. Most of Arkansas's environmental laws are found in the Arkansas Code Title Eight. DEQ is responsible for developing specific rules, called regulations, based on state laws and federal laws like the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology (APC&E) Commission approves these regulations with guidance from the governor, the Legislature, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others. Regulations can be viewed elsewhere on this website.
The APC&E Commission has 13 members -- seven appointed by the governor and six who represent the Arkansas Department of Health, the Forestry Commission, the Geological Survey, the Oil and Gas Commission, the Game and Fish Commission, and the Natural Resources Commission.