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Quarry Opponents File for Continuance

Quarried limestone on a property in Shackelford County. Image courtesy of landsoftexas.com.

Community activists fighting the development of a proposed rock quarry at Highway 46 and FM 3009 say Vulcan Materials is ignoring their request to hand over critical information they need to prepare for a June 10-12 trial that will determine the fate of the controversial project.

The Alabama-based producer of construction aggregates claims information about the composition of Comal County’s limestone rock is a trade secret, according to David Drewa, spokesperson for Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry. Vulcan spokesperson Scott Burnham did not respond to a request for comment.

Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry filed an original request for the information on March 12. On April 9, the groups filed another motion to compel Vulcan to provide core sample data about the silica concentration of the limestone it plans to mine on the 1,500-acre property located in the heart of a residential area between Bulverde and New Braunfels.

On May 3, they filed yet again, this time for a motion for continuance to buy more time to prepare for the “hearing on the merits” before a judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearing.

Vulcan has until May 15 to comply with the original motion.

A judge with the State Office of Administrative Hearing (SOAH) is expected to rule on the continuance motion, which also would extend the discovery process and delay the trial to give Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry more time to review any data Vulcan provides.

“This data is so important because it’s what Vulcan and their consultants use to calculate (and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality authorizes) how much air pollution they will create,” Drewa said in an email statement.

“Not only are they hiding this data from area residents, but to our knowledge, they have not submitted it to TCEQ either,” he said. “Unfortunately, they rely on air-modeling predictions instead. And it’s impossible to know how much pollution Vulcan will be emitting if the air modeling is based on flawed, cherry-picked data that is likely vastly underestimating predicted pollution levels.”

Crystalline silica is a carcinogenic pollutant linked to lung disease, heart disease, silicosis and other health problems, according to a press release posted today to stop3009vulcanquarry.com.

In their May 3 motion, attorneys for Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry argued Vulcan’s assumed concentration of crystalline silica varies by an order of magnitude from the expected value, possibly by as much as 70 percent.

“Vulcan knows we know the information they used on the application is not reliable, and the crystalline silica amount is considerably more than what Vulcan cites,” Stop 3009 President Milann Guckian said.

Opponents argue nobody knows how much air-pollution Vulcan will emit or how the pollutants produced by a rock crusher will affect 12,000 nearby residents.

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