Travis County's Dumping Problem
News8Austin: New agency to monitor illegal dumping sites
In Travis County alone there are more than 60 known chronic illegal dumping sites and possibly hundreds more that have yet to be found.
The first thing that occurs to me is who owns the land where the dumping happens.
In an effort to address the problem, Travis County Commissioners are spending more than $350,000 on new and expanded criminal and civil environmental enforcement services.
A new staff of five will run the service: three in the county attorney's office and two others with the county's Natural Resources Program.
"The limitation here has been that there has been no one to investigate. Law enforcement is spread very thin in Travis County and so this will help look at the environmental issues," Director of Enforcement Kevin Morse with the Travis County Attorney's Office said.
The five new enforcement officers will watch for illegal dumping, as well as for air and water pollution. They will also issue permits.
Morse said those caught violating the law will have to pay, starting at $200 for a Class C misdemeanor.
When in doubt, expand the government! It's the only rational thing to do.
Joyce Thoresen with the Walnut Place Neighborhood Association said her neighborhood could benefit from the county's efforts.
"It's our environment. It's our neighborhood. It's just real discouraging to see this kind of thing go unpunished," Thoresen said.
Joyce Thorenen, if it is your property then why are you applauding this? How is it the shared responsibility of other taxpayers in Travis County? You want it cleaned up? Then clean it up.
Don't make others pay for it. Don't make others responsible for maintaining it. Because, as you asserted, it is YOUR property.
"We're talking about the most serious of misdemeanors in the state of Texas. You're talking $100,000 fines for misdemeanors in water pollution crimes. So, we're talking a broad range of very stringent punishment," Morse said.
Travis County officials and affected residents hope the enforcement effort will discourage people and companies from committing crimes against the environment.
Copyright ©2004TWEAN News Channel of Austin, L.P. d.b.a. News 8 Austin
You can't commit a crime against "the environment." You can only commit crimes against people and their property. This is as empty-headed as saying you've committed a crime against decency or literature.