CONNIE SWINNEY • STAFF WRITER
MARBLE FALLS — Steps taken by landowners and local politicians halted a permit amendment request to expand a rock quarry’s operations by more than 50 percent, which had sparked concerns about dust, air quality and traffic from residents.
APAC Texas, located just north of Marble Falls on U.S. 281, requested the amendment from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The change would have allowed the company to grow its output from 7.7 million tons per year to 12 million tons per year.
On June 7, APAC Texas withdrew the request.
The move followed a public meeting hosted by TCEQ in May in Marble Falls during which landowners and residents voiced opposition to the proposed quarry expansion.
“We looked at their permit application and hired some experts to look at it and felt like there were a lot of deficiencies in what they were planning to do,” said Paul King of the Texas Hill Country Property Rights Coalition. “We protested to the TCEQ. We challenged them to the point that (APAC Texas) decided to withdraw their permit (request).”
TCEQ officials say the company offered no reason why it withdrew the application.
Attempts to reach APAC Texas officials were unsuccessful.
Before the permit was withdrawn, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, state Representative-elect Terry Wilson of District 20 and attorneys for the property rights group met with TCEQ staff.
“I thought the application didn’t seem complete. I was asked to set up a meeting with the director of air quality, so we met with him and his staff along with the attorney for the adjacent landowners,” Oakley said. “I would think, at some point, (APAC Texas) will come back with a revised version of that, but at this point, they pulled it.”
There are more than a half-dozen quarries across Burnet County.
“Anybody who’s from this area or drives through it sees the effects of the dust. It shouldn’t be that way,” Oakley said. “I don’t believe the current operations (at APAC Texas) are adhering to the TCEQ guidelines, so that complaint was filed as well, and they are looking into that.”