Quarry Opponents Request Rehearing
Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry are challenging the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Nov. 20 decision to issue an air-quality permit for the proposed Vulcan Quarry.
On Thursday, the community activist groups announced they have filed a motion for rehearing their case with the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). Joining in the appeal are citizen groups of 100 individuals and associations opposing the quarry.
“I’m hoping that Santa got my Christmas list this year,” Milann Guckian, president of Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry said in a press release issued on Thursday. “A new, fairer and more favorable hearing was at the top.”
TCEQ now has 30 days to act on the motion. If it rules again in Vulcan’s favor, she said Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry will continue to fight its unwelcome neighbor.
“We will continue to pursue all legal options available to block this facility, including the appeals process for the air permit, in order to protect the health of our families and our natural resources,” Guckian said.
Vulcan Materials, the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, plans to turn the old Eric White Ranch at FM 3009 and State Highway 46 into a 1,500-acre rock quarry and crushing plant. An estimated 12,000 people live in the immediate vicinity of the property, located in a residential area of Central Comal County between Bulverde and New Braunfels.
Opponents argue Vulcan Quarry would create air pollution, dangerous traffic conditions, impact home values and endanger the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Zone, the source of drinking water for two million people and primary water supply for agriculture and industry in the aquifer’s region.
They have fought Vulcan Materials in court since June 2017, when the company submitted an air-quality permit application to the TCEQ.
This week’s motion cites several reasons citizen groups feel TCEQ should reverse its permit approval.
- Failure to require or conduct a health-effects review.
- Failure to consider air-pollution sources such as roads, mining-and-blasting operations and product transport.
- Failure to consider the cumulative impact of pollution from certain existing aggregate plants in the area.
- Failure to undertake a Best Available Control Technology analysis.
- Failure to analyze health impact from diesel-engine exhaust.
- Allowing Vulcan to use a “trade secret” excuse to “hide” from both TCEQ and citizens key core sample data used to model air contamination.
Under Texas law, TCEQ may permit a facility only if it finds no indication the facility will harm the publics health and physical property, according to Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry’s press release.
“Neither Vulcan nor TCEQ performed a health-effects review when evaluating the permit application, claiming that this facility was exempt from that review.”
Vulcan still must submit a Water Pollution Abatement Plan (WPAP) to TCEQ due to the quarry’s location over the Edwards Aquifer.
Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry and Friends of Dry Comal Creek say they will oppose this plan if it contains “insufficient protections for our water quality and our water supply.”
In November, Vulcan spokesperson Scott Burnham said the company was pleased with TCEQ’s decision to issue the air-quality permit the company needs to proceed with its development.
“The decision today demonstrates that we have presented a responsible plan for this site that shows Vulcan is committed to the county and doing things the right way,” he said. “We look forward to working with our neighbors and the community.”
Vulcan’s attorney, Keith Courtney, said applications for rock-crushing plants are common and that TCEQ has issued hundreds.