Free environmental law enforcement training available April 1
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
A Sunday drive down the backroads of Oklahoma to enjoy the countryside can be a relaxing adventure – at least until the route crosses an unsightly, illegal and dangerous dumpsite.
To help reclaim the rural environment, Oklahoma State University Extension is joining forces with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development to host the Oklahoma Environmental Law Enforcement Training Seminar. The free event will take place April 1 at the Kiamichi Tech Center, 301 Kiamichi Dr., in McAlester, Oklahoma. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the seminar scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch will be provided.
Keima Borsuah, OSU Extension assistant state specialist with the Solid Waste Management Program, said such dumpsites are dangerous to the environment and can contaminate the soil, ground water, drinking water wells, streams and rivers.
“Not only are these illegal dumpsites an eyesore, they also bring other side effects such as damage to plant and wildlife habitats and possible injury to children who may be playing in the area,” Borsuah said. “These dumpsites also can decrease the quality of life to nearby residents and the local community, as well as affect property values.”
Law enforcement officers, tribal environmental representatives, county commissioners, city officials and local citizens are encouraged to attend the free seminar.
“We encourage anyone who is interested in environmental law and those with a responsibility for preventing illegal dumping in their county to attend this seminar,” she said.
Participants will gain expertise in environmental crimes investigations involving solid and hazardous waste, air and water pollution, open burning, Oklahoma and Federal Clean Air Acts, Safe Drinking Water Act and agency jurisdictional issues. In addition, information will be presented on identifying resources for improving local enforcement programs. The seminar also provides an opportunity to network with others involved in environmental law enforcement. Eight hours of law enforcement credit is available; registrants should include their CLEET number on the registration form
Michael Freeman, senior criminal investigator with ODEQ, will be on hand to speak about agency jurisdictions and environmental crime statutes and to give an overview of illegal dumping and environmental crime awareness. Borsuah will share information about OSU Extension’s role and what citizens can do to help control illegal dumping.
Borsuah said this in-person event will follow local COVID-19 guidelines. The seminar is free, but due to limited space, pre-registration is required. Email Borsuah for the registration form or call her at 405-744-9827 for more information.