In July 2022, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an investigation into charges the City of Houston discriminated against poor and minority neighborhoods in responding to reports of illegal dumping. On June 6, 2023, DOJ announced an agreement between it and the City; DOJ’s efforts will change from investigating the City to monitoring the City’s implementation of the terms of the agreement.
One Clean Houston Initiative
The agreement builds upon the One Clean Houston initiative the City announced in March 2023. According to DOJ’s news release announcing the agreement, “One Clean Houston focuses on rapid cleanup, better enforcement and prevention and education.” The agreement “establishes a three-year period of federal monitoring; data reporting obligations; enhanced community outreach with impacted neighborhoods, including engagement with residents with limited English proficiency; consideration of additional actions to combat commercial sources of illegal dumping and reduce restrictions for residents seeking to use waste depositories; and a federal civil rights training program for specified city employees.”
One Clean Houston will require $17.8 million in additional funding; almost $11.5 million will be for increased heavy trash and illegal dumping abatement services. Other key components include improved efficiency of collection equipment; attracting and retaining waste management employees; and more resources for and coordination of enforcement. The agreement also contains specific requirements for the City’s coordination of the program.
To see DOJ’s news release, which has a link to the agreement https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-announces-agreement-environmental-justice-investigation-illegal-dumping
For information on One Clean Houston, including the breakdown of the $17.8 million estimate, https://houstontx.gov/onecleanhouston/