Output estimate, quarry plans unveiled for proposed rock crusher site

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Several hundred people with a number in support of the Highland Lakes Clean Air Coalition were asked to minimize spoken discontent at a TCEQ air quality permit public meeting Oct. 26, so the audience used signs to communicate their opinion towards speakers at the event. Staff photo by Connie Swinney

MARBLE FALLS — From healthcare officials to city leaders, hundreds of people attended a public meeting Oct. 26 hosted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to answer questions about a controversial air quality permit connected to a proposed rock crushing operation.

The meeting at Lakeside Pavilion featured a cross-section of community members including real estate officials upset about threats to residential development and hospital officials concerned about crystalline silica dispersed into the air by rock dust.

Asphalt Inc. has a pending TCEQ permit to build a rock crushing facility adjacent to the southwest corner of the U.S. 281 and Texas 71 intersection just south of the city of Marble Falls in Burnet County.

TCEQ hosted the public meeting for information purposes to allow the public to ask questions about the permitting process and offer details about the proposed operation.

Public officials who spoke also unveiled more aspects of what the business would entail and how it might impact surrounding communities.

“They’re not hauling the material in. They’re going to quarry,” Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said.
Packer contended that Burnet County has “10,000 acres of quarries,” and lamented that the state entity had failed to consider the city of Marble Falls has invested $14 million in extending utilities, resources and services to the intersection with an eye on housing development.

“It’s in the wrong place,” Packer said of the proposed operation. “We feel like this operation will negatively affect Marble Falls.”

The city is moving forward with annexation plans including a portion of the property on which proposed rock crusher would sit.

A representative with Asphalt Inc. offered hints about the material output from the proposed facility.

“We will produce what the asphalt plant demands,” Asphalt Inc. Plant Manager Troy Carter said.

Estimates of the beginning years could total from 300- to 400,000 tons annually of material extracted from the ground on the property.

Supporters of the newly-created Highland Lakes Clean Air Coalition expressed displeasure by holding up signs as a reaction to statements about the plant.

A number of residents also raised questions about the amount of truck traffic, highway safety issues and other quality of life issues that could suffer should the plant launch operations.

TCEQ acknowledged the public meetings would not affect the outcome of the permit decision.

Permits are based on whether the company meets all the regulation and permitting requirements in the application.

Public commenting on the TCEQ website will end Oct. 31.

connie@thepicayune.com

7 Responses to “Output estimate, quarry plans unveiled for proposed rock crusher site”

  1. Jeannie says:

    The TCEQ is a joke and a waste of Texas taxpayer’s money.

    • Dave says:

      The problem is the Texas Legislature putting corporate profits over the health and economic conditions of a community. The TCEQ is a joke as currently structured because it concerns itself only with air quality and NOT overall environmental quality as its name implies. If a permit application is technically correct, it will generally be approved and that’s it. The public meetings held by TCEQ are for show only and citizen comments and concerns have no influence on permit approval as clearly demonstrated at the Asphalt, Inc. rock crusher meeting. The aggregate industry has “bought” legislators and that will continue until voters start voting for candidates with backbone. There are ways a county can combat the road destruction heavy aggregate trucks create, but getting a good deal on aggregate material for county projects negates that action, and taxpayers get stuck with paying for road repairs. The aggregate industry is necessary, but it needs significant more oversight to ensure the environment remains conducive to good health and economic growth.

  2. steve says:

    Yes mayor the city did spend 14 million to extend utilities to the south but the original intent was to service the hospital and the flatrock subdivision the latter of which has still not built a single home after almost 9 years. You want to recoup that 14 mil. Then get the owners of flatrock to start doing what they claimed they were gonna do. Extending the city limits won’t recoup that 14 mil and it won’t stop the crusher plant.

  3. Lee says:

    Marble falls stay in marble falls

  4. Citizen says:

    No they are not a joke. Everything we use comes from the earth including stone siding granite countertops pipes tile the streets you drive on etc. This is simply a not in my backyard mentality. Nothing more. Unless you live in a grass hut and wipe your butt with leaves then you are a hypocrite

  5. Joe H says:

    The quarries aren’t what’s killing us, it’s the big rigs that turn in crossing traffic or pull out of these plants onto the highways. Many a time I have driven by the asphalt plant in Spicewood on hwy71 only to be confronted by a turning big rig. Most of these drivers can’t seem to do the calculation that a vehicle driving 70mph WILL end up on their tail end or their side faster than they can pull in or out.
    We don’t need the added congestion and the future deaths awaiting to happen.

  6. Monique says:

    Citizen, you nailed it. This is simply stupidity on the “people” who don’t want this. Granite Mountain has been in Burnet County over 100 years, in fact the Capitol is from Marble Falls, Texas. If you don’t like this, I suggest move. Oh, by the way, if you drove to this meeting you polluted, shame on you.

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