TCEQ grants air quality permit to besieged Burnet County quarry operation

STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY

In light of a granted air quality permit for a mining operation in Burnet County, opponents say they will continue their fight due to concerns about the impact on air and water quality associated with the industry. File photo

In light of a granted air quality permit for a mining operation in Burnet County, opponents say they will continue their fight due to concerns about the impact on air and water quality associated with the industry. File photo

AUSTIN —  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has given approval for a rock crusher operation to put down stakes in southern Burnet County despite hundreds of complaints from area landowners, municipalities, hospital representatives, and residents of Blanco, Burnet, and Llano counties.

Officials in the state agency’s air permits division penned a statement Nov. 30 that the TCEQ executive director has issued the air quality permit for Asphalt Inc.

For the past several months, vocal opposition has protested, submitted comments, and rallied against the company.

Opponents believe a rock crushing plant and quarry operation will threaten air and water quality as well as pose truck traffic dangers and stifle residential development.

TCEQ Executive Director Richard Hyde offered a statement after assessing public comments in opposition along with issuing the permit.

“All of the potential dust concentrations have been evaluated using reasonable, worst-case operating parameters and compared to the federal criteria mentioned above,” Hyde wrote. “When a company operates in compliance with the Standard Permit, there should be no deterioration of air quality or the generation of dust such that it causes a nuisance or impacts visibility.”

Commenters also expressed concerns about wildlife habitats, including those of the golden-cheeked warbler, bald eagle, and other migratory species.

“There should be no adverse health effects to wildlife, livestock, pets, or vegetation,” the agency head stated.

Despite concerns, TCEQ officials say the sole consideration for permit approval involved adherence to existing state guidelines.

“As previously mentioned, the TCEQ has conducted a thorough review of this permit application to ensure it meets the requirements of all applicable state and federal standards,” Hyde wrote. “Provided the rock crushing plant is operated within the terms of the standard permit, adverse health effects are not expected.”

The city of Marble Falls was among opponents and, at an accelerated pace, even annexed hundreds of acres adjacent and within the boundaries of the planned operation to stall future mining projects.

“Anything in our city limits or ETJ, we handle the storm water runoff permits,” Marble Falls Mayor John Packer said. “Anything like construction, plumbing, electrical mechanical (projects), they have to get a permit for that.

“That doesn’t stop anything, but they’ll have to go by the rules,” he added.

Similar to other opposition groups, the city is considering other legal options.

“We’re talking with our attorneys to find out what’s next,” Packer said. “What we can and can’t do — zoning, land-use restriction, and legal steps — to see what we can do to slow it down or stop it.”

connie@thepicayune.com

7 Responses to “TCEQ grants air quality permit to besieged Burnet County quarry operation”

  1. Gerry Hauer says:

    I certainly hope those that are opposed are able to have their objections result in denying the building of the Rock crusher at the proposed site south of Marble Falls and west of Highway 281.

    • Mary Ann Fletcher says:

      I am assuming the rock crushing plant will use dynamite to acquire the rock underground. What type of dynamite will be used and how far from the plant will the explosions be felt? With the hospital so close to the plant, this will be critical…especially during delicate surgeries.

  2. steve says:

    The plant will be built but they will try and use the permitting departments to slow them down but they can’t stop it. This once again will be a wasted effort and cost the tax payers money.

  3. David says:

    An endangered bug in a cave could put a real damper on this.

  4. FiftycalTX says:

    OH NOES! Don’t tell me TCEQ actually FOLLOWED THE LAW! Whatever will the NIMBYS do? Move to HSB? Or BACK to Austin/D/FW/HOUSTON? Hate to tell you, but they put a ROCK QUARRY where the ROCKS are. Feel free to whine some more in 3.2.1.

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