Marble Falls plaintiffs in civil lawsuit ask judge to halt planned rock crusher
STAFF WRITER CONNIE SWINNEY
AUSTIN — The battle against a mining company heats up after four Marble Falls-area plaintiffs filed a civil lawsuit in January asking for an injunction to halt a planned rock crusher and quarry operation.
The lawsuit, filed in the 201st Judicial District Court of Travis County, pits the city of Marble Falls and Marble Falls 300 (Gregg Ranch development) along with private property owners Grant Dean and Paul King against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and its three commissioners and executive director.
The legal action is in regard to the TCEQ approving an air quality permit for Asphalt Inc. to build a rock-crushing plant southwest of the U.S. 281-Texas 71 intersection.
The lawsuit was scheduled to be served to TCEQ representatives by Jan. 12, according to the attorneys for the plaintiffs.
The crux of the suit, filed Jan. 2, involves the TCEQ issuing the air quality permit in November.
“We’re asking that the district court order that TCEQ approval of Asphalt Inc. registration be vacated,” said Renea Hicks of the Law Office of Max Renea Hicks, which is representing the plaintiffs. “We’re hopeful that the courts will recognize our claim and correct this mistake.”
Among concerns listed in the document:
• the city of Marble Falls forfeiting millions of dollars in infrastructure investment to the intersection of highways 71 and 281;
• perceived failure by TCEQ to issue the permit in the context of Burnet County’s 17 existing mining-related operations and the existing emissions output (in particular, crystalline silica);
• possible outdated process of monitoring and calculating emissions by the industry;
• alleged violations of existing state administrative codes in the permitting process;
• threats to wildlife (including a bee farm with on-site honey-making) on private property;
• and alleged failure to legally notify the public of the process and plans of Asphalt Inc. prior to issuance of the air quality permit.
The lawsuit follows several months of contentious meetings, public comments, and anti-rock crusher resolution issuances by area cities, county commissioners, developers, nearby hospital officials, and private property owners as well as local air- and water-quality advocates.
In late summer of 2017, Asphalt Inc. announced plans to build the rock-crushing facility.
For several months following the announcement, residents cited concerns about road safety due to increased truck traffic and potential threats to air and water quality due to emissions and runoff.
After receiving notice of the lawsuit, TCEQ officials will have 20-30 days to respond to the court.
16 thoughts on “Marble Falls plaintiffs in civil lawsuit ask judge to halt planned rock crusher”
Obviously we’ve got some Asphalt Inc. future/potential employees in the comments.
Go to college, or get your GED then go to college.. then you can live in a new home there instead of scrape by and work to destroy the earth there!
What are you worried Grant? Do you actually believe asphalt inc is going to open up for buisness? Seems to me the college educated lawyers found a way to stop them. Or have they?
A few points to consider:
By law, TCEQ doesn’t consider health issues or air quality concerns. So, they aren’t required to respond to those comments by citizens concerned about breathing crystalline silica dust every day.
The Asphalt company knew of the existing hospital and the planned developments when it chose to purchase property there.
I personally don’t care if the company loses $4.5 mil.
What possible reason could a facility owner have for locating a new plant close to planned residential and existing medical development, rather than 5 miles south in a less populated area?
The population of Texas is growing by 1.0M people per year. The state of Texas currently consumes approximately 2.0 yds per capita of concrete, 11 tons per capita of aggregate, and about 0.6 tons per capita in cement. Effectively as population grows, the demand for aggregate, concrete and cement grows right along with it. This also means that aggregate, concrete, and cement production facilities are integral to the growth and success of Texas communities. Growth and development cannot happen without these materials.
For more information regarding TACA, or questions about our posting, please do not hesitate to contact us via our website at http://www.tx-taca.org.
No matter which side you favor, if you sat in on the public forum a few months back, it was very clear how inadequate the TECQ’s vetting process currently is when granting a permit. It was laughable. They rely on opinions, “studies” and legislation they feel apply in a general sense to any project site with basically no regard to the actual impact of a particular site. This process should be MUCH more subjective considering the all the impacts this type of operation has on its surroundings. This is a case where adjacent property owners, as well as the city, stand to lose A LOT, but have basically zero real recourse due to the way the system is set up. I admire and praise the city for standing up and attempting to challenge the system. It’s a shame our elected officials have not stood up for property owners, but rather kowtow to the influence of the lobby groups.
If the vetting process by tceq is so bad then explain why it takes many months and steps just to get a permit appoved. This one south of MF took from July to November to get the approval. The one close to 1980 (aka collier) started in april and has still not been completed. Also the owner of asphalt inc paid 4.5 mil just to purchase the Creighton ranch which is a sizeable amount of money. Should that company take a hit to their pocketbook? What elected official is protecting his property rights?
The amount of time doesn’t necessarily equate to how thorough the process takes; it’s the inefficient nature of the bureaucracy that is most likely responsible for this. Also, they allot a certain amount of time to gather and “consider” any feedback given by citizens. This is more procedural than them being truly concerned about our feedback. Again, this was evident at the public hearing with all the valid, legitimate questions that went and remain unanswered. The concern, and the focus of the lawsuit, is that never in this process are the above issues (see six bullet points in article), plus MANY more, even considered when choosing the site of an operation like this. The city believes they should be, and will hopefully be successful in setting a precidence so this will not happen in the future.
I’m in favor of any property owner, individual or cooperation, having rights and protections to the property they own. This goes for Asphalt Inc AND the surrounding properties. Considering all the potential environmental impacts and quality of life concerns, would you say there is mutual benefit for ALL or just Asphalt Inc? The vast majority of property owners adjacent to this operation are entitled to their opinion, and do not.
Of course there is a mutual benefit. This company will use resources that will windup being used in many of the products that these other planned developments need. Should these products be trucked in from longer distances away which increases costs?
As far as the bullet points. Seriously,the first one in the article is so far fetched it’s rediculous. Just how will they forfeit millions in infrastructure? The true loss if any is due to the flatrock development not fulfilling it’s hyped up plans of building over 1500 homes. Also since the time they ran sewage lines and water lines to the hospital other developments are starting to tap into them back towards town. They are already recouping their investment.
While I may agree with some of the reasons for trying to stop this company I believe some of them are without true merit.
Mutual benefit on a more macro scale; properties and homes immediately adjacent to this property that will be affected poor air quality, noise and light pollution, blasting, impact on the aquifer, traffic, etc. I know not all of these issues are TCEQ’s concerns, but they still are valid concerns, and make it hard to argue that these neighbors will benefit. The trade-off for more local production (decreased costs, less transportation costs, etc.) is off-set by impacts and costs of property owners and the city (loss of property value, investment, impact of future city expansion, etc) Bottom line for me; we need aggregate, these quarries just need to be located in a more reasonable place, where their impact is less broad (not non-existent). I agree that arguing development at 71/281 has suffered is a bit of a stretch.
I echo Cindicincin! Thank you and keep up the fight!
Asking a judge to revoke a legal permit because it gives a few riche’ land owners a sadz is not a legal reason to deny a legal permit. Too bad NIMBY’s.
It’s not about a few landowners, rich or otherwise. It’s about two subdivisions in that area that will build much-needed homes for people to live and work in Marble Falls, albeit not the blue-collar price range that is most needed.
And it’s about the hospital and potential surrounding support businesses that will further improve access to healthcare.
The reasons cited are decent concepts. Tough nut to crack, though.
The problem with these two subdivisions is they are only proposed. Gregg ranch could be just like the flatrock development which has never built one home. Even Went to foreclosure. These developers love to hype there projects up but they don’t always delivery. And as far as building homes so people will live here and work here is only based on the hope they will do just that. How many work for the city but would not live here for anything.
It is all about rich landowners and money. Don’t need any additional subdivisions or Marble Falls regulations etc
How ironic for a town that has a blasting operation AND a crushing operation, in it’s city limits, to be in this law suit. It would be appreciated if the city would protect the existing, local population with their time and efforts, as well.
Keep up the good fight guys ( and gals).
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