Environmental Crimes in Dallas
Environmental Protection in Texas
Starting in the early 1990’s, Texas began to implement various environmental laws. This legislation called for criminal charges to be filed against any and all individuals who violate the laws. These laws came about with the increased amounts of pollution and destruction of wildlife that was affecting the state.
Specifically, the concerns included:
- Polluted air in major urban areas;
- Contaminated surface and drinking water;
- Deterioration of coastal areas and wildlife territories; and
- Solid waste disposal demands.
Texas Policy on Environmental Crimes
In conjunction with the newly implemented laws, the current governor effectively created the Texas Environmental Task Force. This team is comprised of various federal, state, and local agency personnel active in enforcing the environmental laws in Texas.
The main purpose of this task force is to integrate both federal and state policies related to the investigation and prosecution of criminal violations regarding environmental laws.
Some of the more significant environmental laws in the state of Texas focus on practices that used to be common-place in the state and involve:
- The regulation of used motor oil;
- The regulation of litter and trash; and
- The regulation of lead-acid batteries.
Is Dumping Used Motor Oil in Texas a Crime?
In Dallas and the rest of Texas, it is a crime to intentionally dump used motor oil. This law was originally created, in part, because it has been shown that even one quart of used motor oil can contaminate a quarter million gallons of water.
It is unlawful to pour used motor oil down drains or sewers, dump it into the ground, or place it in trash cans. In order to abide by state law, an individual must dispose of the oil by taking it to be recycled. When storing the oil in preparation for taking it to the proper recycling location, one must pour the oil into a leak-proof container and make sure it is securely closed.
If you are found to be disposing of used motor oil in a manner that is against Texas law, you will be faced with a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to five years in jail.
Is it Illegal to Dump Litter and Trash in Texas?
It is illegal to leave trash in a non-designated area. There are a variety of reasons as to why there are laws against littering:
- Unsightly: It is unattractive to see an area that has been impacted by trash;
- Public Health: Children may be injured by litter that has been left in areas that are typically frequented by children. Also, rodents and other animals may be attracted to an area where trash has been left by an individual.
- Public Safety: Water cannot flow properly when obstructed by litter. This can cause flooding.
- Financial Cost: It costs money for the city of Dallas or other communities to pick up trash that others have left behind. Generally, cities must employ workers to take care of the litter.
If an individual is charged with littering, he can face a fine anywhere between $200-$4,000. The amount will be determined by considering the type and the amount of the waste dumped. In addition, the individual could face up to one year in jail.
Lead-Acid Batteries & Texas Law
It is against the law in Texas to knowingly dispose of or otherwise discard a lead-acid or car battery anywhere besides an authorized collection or recycling center. Lead is a very strong poison and can lead to body and brain damage if too much lead is ingested into one’s system.
This crime is punishable by up to a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
Do You Need an Attorney?
If you have been arrested and are facing charges related to an environmental crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area who will help you understand the law and provide you with the proper defense.
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