Schedule of In-person Classes - Click Here to Register for Any of These

In-person classes for the second half of 2015 are currently being scheduled.

If you would like to host a class in your city or county, please contact John Ockels ockels@tidrc.com.
Online Classes Always Available - Click Here to Register for Any of These
TIDRC000 Orientation to Local Environmental Enforcement; 1 CEU; FREE
TIDRC001 Legal/Legislative Update for Code Officers; 1 CEU; $25
TIDRC002 Local Control of Oil and Gas Waste; 6 CEUs; $39
TIDRC003 Illegal Dumping Enforcement; 6 CEUs; $39
TIDRC004 Illegal Outdoor Burning; 6 CEUs; $39
TIDRC005 Environmental Crimes of Local Governments; IN DEVELOPMENT
TIDRC006 Ethics of Local Enforcement; 3 CEUs; $29
TIDRC007 Enforcing Public Health Nuisance Laws; 6 CEUs; $39
TIDRC008 Local Control of Scrap Tires; 6 CEUs; $39
Limited Scholarship Program
If you work for a city or the county in Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River or Titus Counties, the Ark-Texas Concil of Governments and the TCEQ have arranged for you to take online classes for free between now and August 31, 2015 (or until the scholarship fund is used). Click here for more information.

What Council of Government are you in? Click here for map.
Continuing Online Student Program
Need several classes this year? You can register as a TIDRC Continuing Student and access all of our current and coming online classes for 365 days from date of your registration by paying one low fee of $150. Click here for more information and registration.
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Online Classes Are Popular and Fast to Take
Our online classes are growing in popularity. Since we've began offering them just over a year ago, a total of 320 different students have completed a total of 686 classes and earned a total of 2,609 continuing education hours.

Click here for current classes available or to take a FREE one-hour for-credit class: TIDRC000 Orientation to Environmental Enforcement.

Cleaning Up Your Community
2014 Citizens Guide


Paperback Edition
$20.00 + $3 Shipping

Having local problems with illegal dumping, water pollution, and health nuisances? This is the book you want to start with.

166 Pages

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Oil and Gas Waste Problems
Just about all kinds of illegal dumping can be controlled by local governments, including sloppy oil and gas waste hauling as shown here in Jim Wells County. Local governments in the oil patch can exercise criminal enforcement powers to keep their communities clean (shown here: multiple criminal violations of Texas Water Code Chapter 29, handled at the county level). Classes on this and other kinds of dumping provide continuing education credits to code enforcement officers and registered sanitarians (approved by the Department of State Health Services) and peace officers (TCOLE). Click here for information on our new online class Local Control of Oil and Gas Waste
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Host a Class in Your City
Hosting a class in your city is easy and makes great economic sense, especially with today's tight budgets. This might be the easiest and least expensive way to assure that your officers get the information, and continuing education hours, they need.
How To Host a Class
Others Who Have Already Done It
Request a Class
Laws and Other Resources
Looking for copies of the most frequently used anti-pollution laws or need other resources to become better informed or to do a better job? Here we post copies of relevant laws and rules, discussion papers on various topics, presentations, and our popular field guides for officers and officials. Feel free to download and use this material to fight local pollution with local resources.
Frequently used environmental laws
Additional useful resources
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Contact Us
Please feel free to contact me personally if you have any questions on illegal dumping or other forms of pollution, to discuss the political issues that surround local empowerment, to send us pictures of dumping, or just to have a private conversation about a situation. The people working on these issues around our state are absolutely amazing, and we love to hear from you. So tell us about your successes and challenges, and maybe we can help. My email address is ockels@tidrc.com

Local Enforcement

Most illegal dumping, water pollution, illegal outdoor burning, and public health nuisances can be effectively controlled by cities and counties using these approaches:

1. Municipal Code Enforcement (Applies only inside most cities)

Fine to $500 / $2,000; Enforced By: Municipal code enforcement officers

2. Public Health Nuisance Violations (Applies everywhere in Texas)
THSC Chap. 341. Minimum Standards of Sanitation and Health Protection Measures
Fine of $10 to $200; Subsequent conviction within one year of first: $10 to $1,000 and/or 30 days jail; Enforced By: Peace officers; Local Health Department; County employee trained by health authority (see THSC Chapter 121)

3. Public Nuisance in Unincorporated Areas (Not including “agricultural” land)
THSC Chap. 343. Abatement of Public Nuisances; Fine of $50 to $200; Subsequent conviction at any future date: $200 to $1,000 and/or 6 months jail; Enforced By: Peace officers; Local Health Department; County employee trained by health authority (see THSC Chapter 121)

4. Illegal Dumping onto Land and into Water (Applies everywhere in Texas)
THSC Chap. 365. Litter; Enforced By: Peace officers; Sets a penalty of Class C, B, or A Misdemeanor or State Jail Felony based on weight or volume dumped; disposal of waste on one's own property generally not allowed

5. Water Pollution (Applies everywhere in Texas)
Enforced By: Peace officers
TWC Sec. 7.145. Intentional or Knowing Unauthorized Discharge (Felony)
For individual: $1,000 to $100,000 and/or Prison to 5 years; Other than individual: $1,000 to $250,000; Subsequent conviction at any time: doubling of possible maximum penalties;
TWC Sec. 7.147. Unauthorized Discharge (Misdemeanor)
For individual: $1,000 to $50,000 and/or Jail to 1 year; Other than individual: $1,000 to $100,000; Subsequent conviction at any time: doubling of possible maximum penalties

6. Oil and Gas Waste (Applies everywhere in Texas)
Enforced By: Peace officers
TWC Chap. 29. Oil and Gas Waste Haulers
$100 to $1,000 fine and/or up to 10 days in jail; Subsequent convictions are not spoken to in the statute;
TNRC Sec. 91.002 Provisions Generally Applicable
Fine to $10,000 for most violations of 16 TAC Sec. 3.8 Water Protection

7. Illegal Outdoor Burning (Applies everywhere in Texas)
Enforced By: Peace officers
TWC Sec. 7.182. Reckless Emission of Air Contaminant and Endangerment (Felony)
$1,000 to $250,000 and/or prison to 5 years; Subsequent convictions are not spoken to in the statute;

TWC Sec. 7.177. Violations of Clean Air Act (Misdemeanor)
Sec. 7.177(a)(5); $1,000 to $50,000 and/or jail to 6 months; Primarily used to respond to people violating the Texas Outdoor Burning Rule (30 TAC Sec. 111,
Subchapter B); TCEQ enforces administratively; local police enforce criminally

8. Hazardous Waste Violations (Applies everywhere in Texas)
Initial penalties are major; Subsequent conviction at any time: generally a doubling of possible maximum penalties; All of these violations are enforced by: Peace officers; See TWC Sec. 7.162 and Sec. 7.163 for various violations and penalties

9. Additional Specified Major Environmental Misdemeanors and Felonies (Applies everywhere in Texas)
TWC Sec. 7.141 to TWC Sec. 7.185; covers various violations involving medical waste; used motor oil; lead acid batteries and other environmental violations;
All of these violations are enforced by: Peace officers; most carry mayor penalties

10. Civil Suits by Cities and Counties
TWC Sec. 7.351. Civil Suits
Civil penalties to $25,000 per day; divided equally between state and local government bringing suit; Cities and counties have specific suit powers to respond to environmental statute, rule, permit, or order violations. Highly specialized attorneys required; direct questions concerning the use of these suits to Daniel Ray, daniel@scottraylaw.com.

Disclaimer: Provision of this information does not constitute the practice of law. Local governments and other readers are encouraged to discuss the use of these provisions and approaches with their attorney and local prosecutors. If we can assist in this process, please contact us.