STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
MARBLE FALLS — Opponents of a proposed rock crushing facility have found a friend in higher office to offer concerns and demand a public meeting about the latest project’s pending air quality permit.
“Yes, I submitted a letter, and (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) will be granting us a public meeting,” said state Rep. Terry Wilson, who represents House District 20 covering Burnet and Milam counties and part of Williamson County.
That meeting would involve TCEQ offering information and gathering comments in a public setting, prior to the decision on the permit.
The date is pending; however, by-mail or online public commenting to TCEQ for or against the permit ends Oct. 9.
A cross-section of residents, developers, nearby hospital officials, and beautification leaders have voiced concerns to community leaders, resulting in opposition statements from the cities of Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay to Burnet County commissioners and Baylor Scott & White Hospital.
The rock crushing operation has been proposed for a site just off CR 403 south of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection.
“I’m concerned that we’re having people who are being ran off the road. There needs to be a larger-scope look at this,” Wilson said of the potential truck tractor-trailer traffic, which grows along with the industry. “It’s around a hospital and housing development area, so I think it needs an examination to see if this is a right thing to do or not.”
The representative acknowledged he does not want to halt such industry but expects a more measured look at its impact.
“Everybody wants to be pro business, but we need responsible business. That means public safety considerations regarding the highway, the air quality, and what it’s going to do to our water,” he said. “Anytime we’re granting mining, we need to have a larger view of what the impact is, not only in the immediate area but the surrounding area as well, in terms of public safety.”
Opponents have now pivoted toward requesting a so-called “contested hearing,” which, if granted by TCEQ, would involve a more thorough assessment within a legal setting utilizing an administrative process.
“People deserve a hearing. They need to take these things into consideration before granting the permit,” Wilson said. “I am absolutely happy to help the people have due process.”
A protest of the rock crushing facility is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the entryway of the proposed site.
Attempts to reach the property owners and a spokesperson for Asphalt Inc. were unsuccessful.