Texas County Can't Avoid State Fine For Water Law Violation

Law360 (July 30, 2020, 4:14 PM EDT) -- A Texas appellate panel ruled Thursday that Harrison County can be fined by the state's environmental quality commission for failing to comply with water code requirements, finding the Legislature unambiguously excluded governmental immunity from administrative penalties under the statute.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has authority to fine the county more than $5,000 for skipping annual line-leak-detector and piping-tightness tests required under the state's Water Code for underground storage tanks it owns, a three-judge Fourteenth Court of Appeals panel found.

In reversing a lower court's finding, the appellate panel said that, under the definition provided in Texas Government Code Section 311.005,...

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