Rutherford County will hold Environmental Court as a division of General Sessions Court to deal strictly with local environmental issues such as illegal dumping, neglected property, safety and health code violations, animal control and illegal burning.
The first Environmental Court will be held on June 6 at the Rutherford County Judicial Building, and it will continue to be held on the first Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. and presided by Judge Lisa Eischeid.
According to a press release issued by county government, environmental issues have always been an important matter for county courts but have never had their own time and been put before their own judge in court.
The current environmental laws are not being changed through the court’s establishment.
“By having a specified court date for environmental violations, we save county employee time and resources,” Eischeid said. “Employees now have a consistent time and day each month that they will be present in court regarding any environmental violations.”
Rutherford County Building Codes Director Tanya Bell added, “By having court dedicated to these violations, it relieves the affiliated department staff from countless hours spent in General Sessions Court and allows them to better utilize their time and resources out in the community on field enforcement.”
Environmental Court will be used by various Rutherford County departments to include, but not limited to: building codes, animal services, fire and rescue, solid waste, engineering and emergency management.
“We have seen an influx in illegal dumping in the last few years,” Rutherford County Solid Waste Director Mac Nolen noted. “We hope that having an assigned Environmental Court day will allow for violations to be addressed officially. We are hoping to bring cultural change through the use of Environmental Court.”
Residents can report environmental violations through the Rutherford County Government departmental websites or by calling the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number, (615) 898-7720.
To learn more about the violations listed, visit www.rutherfordcountytn.gov.