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Quarry Battle Moves to Austin June 10

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Quarry Battle Moves to Austin June 10

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State Office of Administrative Hearings' Administrative Law Judge Rebecca Smith, left, will preside over next week's hearing about Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's controversial air-quality permit for Vulcan Quarry. Here, she listens to arguments for and against the quarry project at a March 6 hearing in Comal County Commissioners Court.

The battle to prevent Vulcan Materials Company from turning the old Eric White ranch near FM 3009 and SH-46 into a 1,500-acre limestone rock quarry and crushing plant continues at 9 a.m. tomorrow, June 10, at the William P. Clements Office Building, fourth floor, 300 West 15th St., Austin.

State Office of Administrative Hearings Administrative Law Judge Rebecca Smith will hear expert testimony and legal arguments for and against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) air-quality permit needed to greenlight Vulcan’s project.

The “hearing on the merits” lasts three days, and following the hearing, parties will file and reply to written closing arguments.

Judge Smith is expected to rule by Sept. 3 whether to include SOAH’s recommendations to deny the permit application, approve it as-is, or approve it with additional restrictions and requirements.

Stop 3009 VulcanQuarry,  Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Harrison Ranch Group will argue against the permit at tomorrow’s hearing.

Other “affected parties” opposing the air-quality permit include Comal ISD and the Edwards Aquifer Alliance.

They tried to block tomorrow’s hearing, filing for a continuance on May 3, arguing Vulcan should share core sample data about the limestone it plans to quarry. Judge Smith denied the motion.

Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry’s Director of Communications David Drewa said activists argued Comal County residents deserved all the facts about quarry operations, claiming Vulcan cherry-picked core sample data and used flawed air-modeling analysis.

“It contains insufficient protection for area residents and our state’s natural resources,” he said. “TCEQ was wrong to approve this permit. We will present data and evidence to support our arguments, and we are confident the SOAH judge will agree with us and recommend denial of this permit application.”

“We’re disappointed that Vulcan continues to hide the facts from residents living near the proposed quarry,” he said.

He urges the public to attend this week’s hearings.

“We need to pack the courtroom just like we did on March 6 in New Braunfels,” Stop Vulcan Quarry 3009 posted to its website. “Our quality of life, health and natural resources are on the line.”

If approved, the quarry will be surrounding residential areas with an estimated population of 12,000 people. Vulcan Materials purchased the old Eric White Ranch near FM 3009 and SH-46.

According to its website, Vulcan Materials Company is the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates—primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel—and a major producer of aggregates-based construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete.

“Our coast-to-coast footprint and strategic distribution network align with and serve the nation’s growth centers,” it says.

“Environmental stewardship is a core value embedded in our business, strategy and governance structure. We bring together engineers, geologists, hydrologists and environmental specialists to develop the best methods to protect, restore and preserve land that countless people, ecosystems and wildlife depend on.”

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