State rep pushes for public meeting on rock crusher; protest planned

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Opponents of a proposed rock crusher captured the attention of state Rep. Terry Wilson, who called for a public meeting about the project’s pending air quality permit.

Opponents of a proposed rock crusher captured the attention of state Rep. Terry Wilson, who called for a public meeting about the project’s pending air quality permit.

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.

Opponents of a proposed rock crushing operation just off CR 403 south of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection have planned a protest at 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at the proposed entryway of the site. File photo

Opponents of a proposed rock crushing operation just off CR 403 south of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection have planned a protest at 11 a.m. Sept. 30 at the proposed entryway of the site. File photo

“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.

connie@thepicayune.com

5 Responses to “State rep pushes for public meeting on rock crusher; protest planned”

  1. Jerk says:

    This is COMMUNIST! I know it is! I know COMMUNISM when I see it!

  2. TACA says:

    The Texas Aggregate and Concrete Association (TACA) supports public input and community partnerships where its operations such as rock crushers and quarries are located. An essential part of this interaction is making sure that accurate facts, figures, and statistics are used during those discussions.

    First, the proposed rock crusher is not a new business to the area. There are already several rock crushing and quarry operations operating in the area. These operations are an integral part of the community supply skilled labor jobs, a large tax base, and the raw materials that are absolutely critical for the growth of the region.

    Second, those operations, and the proposed rock crusher, have to comply with permits issued by the TCEQ. Those permits are designed to ensure protection of both the health of the community and the natural resources of Texas, and are enforceable by law, with significant penalties for violations attached to those permits.

    Finally, discussions regarding community safety and welfare are important and essential when any new business enters a community. Rational discussions regarding actual traffic conditions are key to understanding the actual impacts. This type of approach relies on data and statistics rather than making assumptions and using anecdotal conjecture which do not typically support a positive conversation.

    For additional information about TACA and its members, please use the following link: http://www.tx-taca.org

    • Candice says:

      And here is that same cut and paste comment!
      TACA fast at work trying to cover their butts.

  3. Gil J says:

    FIRSTLY: the existence of other rock crushing operations in the area (Spicewood, 281N) is of no comfort in this area. Labor and raw materials are good, as is property in the tax base. But, the crusher and quarry operations totally destroy the land, impact the surrounding area, and jeopardize water tables.

    SECONDLY: do the TCEQ permits really mean much when you view the dust-covered trees and houses to the North and West of the existing operations?

    FINALLY: the community is glad that discussions will be held, finally. Finally after the permit has already been applied for and has passed all technical aspects. The community feels that the permitting process was run under the radar. Data and statistics are good, but do they really tell the story on the ground? Many, many people from the Marble Falls/Horseshoe Bay area drive the roads that will be impacted. They know the traffic from a factual point of view which is hardly anecdotal.

    Yes, the materials are needed for growth here and everywhere. But why on a tract of this nature, square in the middle of growth corridor that already has a substantial amount of finished development. This plant will essentially place a border against Southward growth of Marble Falls.

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