Rock crusher foes petition governor’s office for mining moratorium

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

Opponents of a proposed rock crusher just off the southwest corner of Texas 71 and U.S. 281 have presented a petition to Gov. Greg Abbott asking him for a mining permit moratorium. Petitioners believe the location of the operation is a threat to housing development and air and water quality. File photo

Opponents of a proposed rock crusher just off the southwest corner of Texas 71 and U.S. 281 have presented a petition to Gov. Greg Abbott asking him for a mining permit moratorium. Petitioners believe the location of the operation is a threat to housing development and air and water quality. File photo

AUSTIN — Opponents of a proposed rock-crushing operation south of Marble Falls presented Gov. Greg Abbott’s office with a petition asking for a moratorium on new mining permits, citing concerns about air and water quality and roadway safety.

A “moratorium” is a temporary halt on a particular activity.

Asphalt Inc., which plans to build an operation near the southwest intersection of U.S. 281 and Texas 71, is awaiting word from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the status of its requested air quality permit.

Pat Dickey and her neighbor, Stephanie Styles, who live just off Flat Rock Road (CR 403) across from the proposed site, traveled to Austin on Nov. 7 to present the governor with 1,490 signatures from residents in Burnet, Blanco, and Llano counties.

“Our intent is not to close down all the rock crushers and quarries that are existing. We want them to put a moratorium on new permits,” Dickey said. “We just want more information on what they plan to do.”

Should the governor call for a temporary freeze on mining permits, opponents request that TCEQ:

• enact stricter dust controls on operations;

• generate updated air quality data comparisons;

• research the impact of mining on aquifers;

• and conduct runoff impact assessments connected to area waterways.

Dickey said concerns involve “dust, water quality, and wells drying up.”

“What happens when they breach the water table?” she said. “Just how deep are they allowed to dig? No one can tell us any of this information.”

A representative from the governor’s office was unavailable for comment.

Representatives from TCEQ and State Sen. Dawn Buckingham’s office, who requested the petition meeting, also attended the presentation.

“The objective was to have a dual impact, not just to the TCEQ but to their boss, the governor,” Dickey said.

The governor appoints three TCEQ board members, who then appoint a commissioner.

For the past several weeks, rock-crushing operation opponents have staged protests near the proposed location, campaigned at public meetings, and solicited opposition resolutions from nearby municipalities.

connie@thepicayune.com

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