Every even-numbered year, the Texas Legislature assembles study committees to examine issues brought up in the previous legislative session that require more research and discussion. Those committees issue reports upon which future legislation can be built.
This term, I was asked to chair the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations.
For those living near Aggregate Production Operations (APOs), the need for a study on how the state regulates and inspects their operation is clear, but for those who aren’t familiar, a brief overview.
APOs dig up rock, usually limestone, and sand deposits, which they then crush to sizes ranging from large gravel to ultra-fine powders used in cosmetics, with the largest share of their production dedicated to producing the materials needed for concrete. Some APOs even mix concrete and asphalt on site.
As Texas continues to grow, so does the need for APOs to produce the concrete that builds our homes, businesses, and the infrastructure connecting them. However, as the APOs have sought out new deposits to utilize, their expansion and the expansion of our cities and communities have become increasingly in conflict.
Blasting and industrial noise that was not an issue when the nearest resident was miles away, suddenly becomes a major issue if a new mining operation is put within range of an existing and expanding community. Dust clouds that once only covered grass and trees now come rolling in over homes, schools, and hospitals.
Rules and procedures that once worked fine now produce friction between industry and community. We now have the opportunity to develop new policy that will meet the needs for both industry and the public while avoiding adverse impacts.
The House APO Committee is made up of both members of the Texas House and leaders within the Texas APO industry. We are tasked with finding solutions that will allow for that growth to continue without lowering our quality of life in Central Texas.
As part of that work we will be taking testimony from the public about your experience with APO-related issues. This will be added to the interviews with experts, agencies, and interested organizations in assembling a final report and set of recommendations to the 87th Texas Legislature.
Normally, we would take this testimony in person during a public hearing at the Texas Capitol. With the Capitol building closed to the public, however, we will instead be taking written testimony by email.
If you wish to send testimony to the committee, please email it to our committee clerk at email@example.com. We ask that you send in your testimony prior to Oct. 30.
Additionally, I will be hosting a series of informal online town halls on APO issues (in September), bringing together industry, academic, and state agency experts.
- Sept. 29, 9 a.m.: Examining the impact of the APO industry on the Texas economy and the impact of potential regulations on APOs and construction costs.
- Sept. 30, 9 a.m.: Examining the environmental, quality of life, and infrastructure issues faced by communities near APO sites.
- Oct. 1, 9 a.m.: We will hear from members of the public.
These dates and times may be subject to change. Please check my Facebook page for any changes and to view the events
I look forward to hearing from and seeing y’all soon.
Wilson represents Texas House District 20, which includes Burnet County.