The Brown County Sheriff’s Department is just a few steps away from hiring an environmental officer, and good for them. And shame on us.

The $50,000 grant will fund the first year’s salary plus training for this officer, plus a decreasing percentage of that salary for the following two years. Funds will come from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s solid waste grants program, and commissioners were told Monday that the application has been approved.

This officer will be focused on enforcing laws that are designed to protect not only the beauty of county landscapes, but also the safety of motorists, livestock and residents. Too many isolated locations in rural areas become dumping grounds not only for garbage, but also for worn out furniture, appliances and even vehicles. It seems that when one person decides a particular bar ditch is a suitable - though illegal - place to dump solid waste, others quickly follow that lead.

Too often, the items left to rot by roads, streams and pastures - paints, batteries and pesticides, for example - can be deadly.

Apprehension, enforcement and prevention of such actions by thoughtless people will be enhanced by the addition of this officer. The pity of it is that government funds must be spent to clean up after ourselves.

Brownwood Bulletin