Informal Complaint To Agency

 

What it is:  Phone call, email, or letter to someone at the relevant agency with the authority to address your problem.  
 
Advantages:  It is very simple and straightforward.  It may bolster relationship with the agency and personnel.  This is a good way to become acquainted with an issue and learn about agency policy toward it without necessarily putting the agency in a defensive stance.  It is a good place to start if you feel unsure about the legal or factual foundation of your problem or it is your first time dealing with any similar issue.  It may quickly lead to additional resources to help you with your problem.
 
Disadvantages:  The agency is not required to do anything to follow-up with you or take action on your complaint.  It may be difficult to find the right person to talk to; if you don’t know from the outset it’s easy to be given the run-around.  Even if you get a good answer it can be a long time before the agency gets around to doing anything.
 
Recommendations:  Use this to help you get started, but don’t let up once you’ve begun.  If you don’t know where to start try the environmental advocate’s office at West Virginia DEP and ask them for direction.  You can also contact Coal River Mountain Watch at (304) 854-2182 for advice on who might be helpful.  Try to learn as much as possible about your issue before you make contact so you can get the most out of it and so it is harder for someone to dismiss your concerns.