ERATH COMANCHE BOSQUE CORYELL
The rules of the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District were adopted by the Board of Directors on May 11th, 2004 at a duly posted public meeting in compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act and following publication in accordance with the Te xas Water Code Sec.
36.101. In accordance with Section 59 of Article XVI of the Texas Constitution; Act of May 25, 2001, 77th Leg., R.S., ch. 1362, 2001 Tex. Gen. Laws 3371; Act of May 23, 2003, 78th Leg., R.S., ch. 893, 2003 Tex. Gen. Laws 2717; Act of May 26, 81st Leg. R.S. ch. 521, 2009 Tex. Gen.
Laws 1204; and Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code, the following rules are hereby ratified and adopted as the rules of this D istrict by its Board. These rules shall take effect on May 11th, 2004. Current version of rules updated August 6, 2015
The rules, regulations, and modes of procedure herein contained are and have been adopted to simplify procedures, avoid delays, and facilitate the administration of the water laws of the State and the rules of this District. These rules are to be constr ued to attain those objectives. These rules may be used as guides in the exercise of discretion, where discretion is vested. However, these rules shall not be construed as a limitation or restriction upon the exercise of discretion conferred by law, nor shall they be construed to depr ive the District or the Board of any
powers, duties, or jurisdiction provided by law. These rules will not limit or restrict the amount and accuracy of data or information that may be required for the proper administration of the law.
Rules Compliance Policy-Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District
I. General Guidelines
The rules compliance policy for the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District ("District) provides the general guideli nes that the District will follow when enforcing its rules or addressing other issues within its jurisdiction. The District's rules compliance policy in no way restricts the District's authority or powers as established by Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code ("Chapter 36"), the District's Rules ("Rules"), or any order of the Board of Directors ("Board") of the District. If the District's rules compliance policy contradic ts or is inconsistent with Chapter 36 or the Rules, Chapter 36 or the Rules prevail. The District's rules compliance policy does not generate or provide any procedura l or substantive rights to any person or entity.
II. Statutory Authority
Through its rules compliance policy, the District exercises the powers granted to groundwater conservation districts by Chapter 36. Specifically, section 36.102 (Enforcement of Rules) of Chapter 36 provides as follows: (a) A district may enforce this chapter and its rules by injunction, mandatory injunction, or other appropriate remedy in a c ourt of competent jurisdiction.
(b) The board by rule may set reasonable civil penalties for breach of any rule of the district not to exceed $10,000 per day per violation, and each day of a continuing violation constitutes a separate violation.
(c) A penalty under this section is in addition to any other penalty provided by law of this state and may be enforced by complaints filed in the appropriate court of jurisdiction in the county in which the district's principal office or meeting place is located.
(d) If the district prevails in any suit to enforce its rules, the district may seek and the court shall grant, in the same a ction, recovery for attorney's fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the district before the court. The amount of attorney's fees shall be fixed by the court.
III. District Rule Authority
The District also derives its enforcement authority from its Rules. Several different sections of the Rules touch upon the Di strict's enforcement of its Rules, including Rule 10.3. While its provisions are not exclusive, Rule 10.3 provides the powers that the District may exercise when enforcing its rules. The language of Rule 10.3 is as follows:
(a) If it appears that a person or entity has violated, is violating, or is threatening to violate any provision of the Distr ict Rules, the Board of Directors may institute and conduct a suit in a court of competent jurisdiction in the name of the Distri ct for injunctive relief, recovery of a civil penalty of not more than $10,000 per violation, both injunctive relief and a civil penalty, or any other appropriate remedy. Each day that a violation continues shall be considered a separate violation .
(b) A penalty under this section is in addition to any other penalty provided by law and may be enforced by filing a complaint in a court of competent jurisdiction in the county in which the District's principal office or meeting place is located.
(c) If the District prevails in a suit to enforce its Rules, the District may seek and the court shall grant, in the same action, recovery of attorney's fees, costs for expert witnesses, and other costs incurred by the District before the court. The amo unt of attorney's fees awarded by a court under this Rule shall be fixed by the court.
(d) The District resolution may adopt a civil penalty schedule for violation of District Rules or Chapter 36, Water Code. Additionally, any permit issued by the District may be revoked for violation of District Rules, Chapter 36, Water Code, or violatio ns of the terms and conditions of the permit.
IV. Discovery of Violation of a District Rule
The General Manager of the District will determine at the time of discovery of a rule violation or shortly thereafter if the rule violation constitutes a Major or Minor Violation. The framework for the General Manager making such a determination and a i llustrative list of Major or Minor
Violations is provided in the Violation Guidelines Section of this rules compliance policy. As part of the violation determination, the General Manager will identify if the violation poses an immediate or imminent danger to public health or the environment.
V. General Manager Authority
The General Manager is granted the authority to take action under this rules compliance policy upon discovery of a violation. Under the circumstances detailed below, the General Manager may take action without board approval. Conversely, some situations will trigger the need for
Board consideration and possible Board action.
The General Manager may take steps to address a rule violation without an initial Board consideration if the violation is a Minor Violation. Further, the General Manager may immediately file a civil suit on behalf of the District for injunctive relief, civil penalties, damages, attorney fees, costs of expert witnessed, and other costs incurred by the District if the General Manager becomes aware of a rule violation that presents an immediate or imminent danger to public health or the environment in the judgment of the General Manager or if a well is being drilled without the necessary District permit or registration.
If the General Manager is addressing a Minor Violation, then the General Manager may send written correspondence to the perso n responsible for the Minor Violation if such action is necessary to resolve the violation in the discretion of the General Mana ger. The General Manager is also authorized to negotiate a settlement of Minor Violations with the violators, if possible, for a 90 day period which begi ns as of the date of discovery of the rule violation. If possible, the General Manager will provide the Board with a report at e ach monthly Board meeting of the violations of the Rules that have occurred since the previous Board meeting.
The General Manager must bring to the Board's attention any Major Violation or Minor Violation that the General Manager has been unable to resolve in the 90 day time period that began as of the date of discovery of the rule violation. The General Manager will provide the Board with a report which details the factual scenario involved with the violation and will recommend a settlement offer to resolve the vi olation in lieu of litigation which takes into consideration the Violation Guidelines and Civil Penalty Schedules provided in this enforcement policy. Upon receipt of the report of the rule violation, the Board will consider the rule violation and may direct the General Manager to settle the violation with the violator; commence the filing of a civil suit in the applicable court to seek civil penalties, injunctive re lief, costs of court and expert witnesses, damages, and attorney fees; or take any other appropriate action within the District's authority.