More than 3,000 people have signed a petition in opposition to a proposed sand dredging operation from Lake LBJ off of Llano County Road 309. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
An anti-dredging group, Save Lake LBJ, has amassed 3,774 signatures as of Tuesday, Dec. 15, on a Change.org petition that voices their opposition to a sand dredging operation in Kingsland near the Comanche Rancheria subdivision.
The group fears that dredging would disrupt a fish habitat, mar the landscape, and affect water and air quality, and that trucks hauling sand and other materials would overburden local roads and make for hazardous driving conditions.
“It would destroy, absolutely destroy, the beauty and the fishing and the recreation around Kingsland and probably downriver and well into the body of Lake LBJ because of what’s being proposed,” said Save Lake LBJ spokesman Virgil Yanta. “This is a residential area. It’s next to gorgeous and pristine Hill Country ranch land.”
The semi-retired attorney and Kingland resident lives near the proposed operation but notes its impact would go far beyond the immediate area.
“The committee wants to educate and inform the landowners, residents, and (Llano County) commissioners and visitors in and around Lake LBJ just what a detriment this operation would be,” he said.
The proposed plant at County Road 309 near the Comanche Rancheria subdivision would move 100-120 truckloads of material per day on the rural road before taking Texas 71 into Llano. The operation would draw an estimated 425 tons of sand an hour out of the lake.
“Hundreds of trucks, big huge dump trucks in and out every day, turning into the ranch property to pick up the sand,” Yanta said. “(Residents) would not enjoy the noise, the stench of the big diesel engines operating the conveyor belts and processing equipments, because it’s going to be run by huge machinery that’s run by great big diesel engines. Just a cacophony all day long of big trucks.”
Collier Materials Vice President Kevin Collier has in the past said that the plant will be quieter and less dusty than the previously proposed Sandy Creek operation because it will use conveyor belts to transport materials from the river rather than driving trucks into the creek.
“There’s obviously a trade-off between landowners’ rights and the rights of everybody else,” Yanta said. “The problem is, if we lose sight of equanimity and just rubber stamp applications, you end up permanently scarring the earth and ruining the environment for the short-term gain of a few. So, where do we draw the line?”