The Tennessee Clean Water Network has released a report showing the state issued 93 percent fewer enforcement orders against water polluters in 2015 than it did in 2007.
In a Wednesday news release network Executive Director Renee Hoyos called the low enforcement numbers an invitation to industry to come to Tennessee and pollute.
The network found the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued only 15 enforcement orders in 2015 compared with 219 orders in 2007. The 2015 figures were even down steeply from 2014, when the department issued 53 enforcement orders.
Department spokesman Eric Ward said in an email the department has been emphasizing "stopping pollution before pollution occurs," but has not been averse to issuing enforcement orders when necessary.