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RULE §19.72Authority of Authorized Public Entity

(a) An authorized public entity has the authority, subject to the processes and limitations of this subchapter, to store, strip, use, auction, sell, salvage, scrap, or dispose of a derelict vessel found on or above submerged lands within the jurisdiction of the authorized public entity. A vessel disposal must be done in an environmentally sound manner and in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws, including the state solid waste disposal provisions provided for in Chapter 361, Texas Health and Safety Code. Scuttling or sinking of a vessel is only permissible after obtaining the express permission of the owner or owners of the submerged lands below where the scuttling or sinking would occur, and obtaining all necessary state and federal permits or licenses.

(b) The primary responsibility to remove a derelict or abandoned vessel belongs to the owner, operator, or lessee of the moorage facility or the lessee of the submerged lands where the vessel is located. If the authorized public entity with jurisdiction is unwilling or unable to exercise the authority granted by this section, it may request the General Land Office to assume the authorized public entity's authority for a particular vessel. The General Land Office may, at its discretion, assume authority for a particular vessel after being requested to do so. For vessels not at a moorage facility, an authorized public entity with jurisdiction over the submerged lands where the vessel is located may, at its discretion, request to assume primary responsibility for that particular vessel from the owner of the submerged lands where the vessel is located.

(c) An authorized public entity that contracts for the removal and disposal of derelict vessel or structure shall require the contractor to maintain a policy of insurance to cover the cost of response to and removal of any unauthorized discharge of oil caused by the contractor during the removal and storage of the vessel or structure.

(d) Nothing in this subchapter shall limit the authority of a law enforcement agency to use agency personnel, equipment, and facilities or contract for other personnel, equipment, and facilities to remove, preserve, store, send notice regarding, and dispose of an abandoned motor vehicle, watercraft, or outboard motor taken into custody by the agency or the disposal under Texas Transportation Code, §§683.011 - 683.016, or the authority of a municipality or county for the abatement and removal from private or public property or a public right-of-way of a junked vehicle or part of a junked vehicle as a public nuisance under Texas Transportation Code, §§683.071 - 683.078.

(e) The authority granted by this subchapter is permissive, and no authorized public entity has a duty to exercise the authority. No liability attaches to an authorized public entity that chooses not to exercise this authority.

Source Note: The provisions of this §19.72 adopted to be effective September 13, 2010, 35 TexReg 8377

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