MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - In Midland County, officials like District Attorney Laura Nodolf say they are putting a priority on crimes against the environment.
"We have illegal dumping, we have violations of chemicals being improperly disposed, and we also have things that are related to oilfield equipment or waste," said Nodolf.
These complaints are part of the reason in June Nodolf pushed the Midland County Commissioner's court for the establishment of an environmental investigator.
Her request was granted, and the agency has been formed to run out of her office.
The water code adoption made on August 15 was a measure to help the agency with enforcement.
"What we're dealing with today are steps that are necessary for us to be able to write tickets and enforce the code to make sure we have teeth behind the investigations that we're doing," said Nodolf.
Nodolf says the county can now be more effective in enforcing against environmental crimes with criminal and civil measures, though she wants to be clear this isn't a bullying operation.
"We don't plan on writing tickets upon first contact, the first part of our job is education, we're going to let people know they're committing offenses, and if they don't clean it up they will face punishment."
Those who commit environmental crimes can be subject to misdemeanor criminal charges, and civil fines of up to $25,000 per day depending on severity.