HOUSTON -- Houston-area officials have approved the hiring of additional assistant district attorneys to prosecute environmental crimes following two major chemical plant fires that closed schools and leaked toxic chemicals into coastal waters.
Harris County commissioners on Tuesday authorized $850,000 for the district attorney's office to hire four prosecutors who will focus on environmental violations, plus two investigators and two support staff.
The approval comes after commissioners in February turned down District Attorney Kim Ogg's request for more than 100 additional prosecutors for her office.
But Ogg's request came before a March fire at Intercontinental Terminals Co. that triggered shelter-in-place warnings, and another fire in April at a KMCO plant in which a worker was killed.
Ogg announced Monday that ITC will be charged with five counts of water pollution.