Vulcan Construction Materials, LLC, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and concerned citizen groups opposed to a proposed aggregate quarry in Comal County have been engaged in legal proceedings since 2018. BACK A LEGAL & FORTH
ENVIRONMENT Approval of air-quality permit for Vulcan Quarry in Comal County reversed in district court
The TCEQ declared the air-quality permit application for Vulcan Construction Materials LLC was complete.
JULY 5, 2017
BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY
not adequately account for cumula- tive impacts or road emissions, and the company’s emissions calculations were not representative of the site. Previously, an administrative law judge ruled Vulcan could maintain information from a 2016 subsurface investigation as condential under the trade secret privilege, a decision Gamble said denied plaintis due process. “In Texas there are very few requirements for a quarry or an aggregate mine to go into operation compared to other states in the country,” Drewa said. “There’s just really minimal supervision and minimal regulation.” Members of Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry, Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining and other local groups are working with state Rep. Kyle Biederman, RFredericksburg, to introduce legislation aimed at creating more oversight for similar mining operations. Drewa said Texas House Bill 4341 would transfer quarry and aggre- gate permitting from the TCEQ to the railroad commission, a move that could increase protections for natural resources in areas subject to mining operations. Attorneys for the Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry are now responsible for drafting a nal order, according to the ruling, which will be presented to the TCEQ and Vulcan. A hearing was set for April 2 should the parties disagree on the nal order, and the defendants will have the option to appeal the decision to the 3rd Court of Appeals. “We do expect them to appeal that decision,” Drewa said. “We won a single battle in what is going to be a long war.” In addition to the air-quality permit, the quarry must also receive approval from the TCEQ for a water pollution abatement permit to begin operations—a plan that has yet to be submitted for approval. Vulcan and the TCEQ declined to comment on the ruling as proceedings are ongoing.
Progress on a proposed quarry owned by Vulcan Construction Mate- rials, LLC has stalled after a judge in the 459th District Court in Travis County ruled in favor of concerned Comal County citizen groups. The lawsuit, led Feb. 14, 2020, by Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, aimed to reverse the TCEQ’s November 2019 approval of air-qual- ity permits submitted by Vulcan for its proposed rock-crushing facility. Plaintis and area residents raised concerns the new facility could increase area air pollution, pose a threat to the Edwards Aquifer or lead to decreased property values in nearby neighborhoods, according to a press release from Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry. The proposed 1,500-acre quarry would be located between FM 3009 and Hwy. 46 and would cover a por- tion of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, according to the quarry web- site. Mining of the quarry is expected to last approximately 80 years, and 40% of the property, including 100- foot buer zones from the property line, would not be mined. “Vulcan applied for the air quality permit for this facility back in July of 2017,” said David Drewa, director of communications for Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry. “The neighbors and the citizens and the residents in the area have banded together and have been ghting this ever since then.” Judge Maya Guerra Gamble heard the case Dec. 8 before ruling in favor of the plaintis March 5. Gamble called for the TCEQ’s approval of the air permit to be reversed and vacated, stalling the project. The ruling stated the TCEQ’s determination that the proposed plant’s crystalline silica emissions would not negatively impact human health was not supported by sub- stantial evidence. Additionally, the judge ruled Vulcan’s air-dispersion modeling did
The TCEQ holds a public meeting to hear concerns from Comal County residents about the proposed rock- crushing plant.
FEB. 27, 2018
New Braunfels City Council approves a resolution urging state lawmakers to heed citizen concerns about the quarry.
MARCH 12, 2018
The Comal County Commissioners Court passes a resolution urging the TCEQ to consider citizen health and safety concerns before approving an air-quality permit.
Comal ISD passes a resolution opposing the construction of the Vulcan Quarry.
JUNE 26, 2018
The State Oce of Administrative Hearings holds a preliminary hearing regarding Vulcan’s air- quality permit application.
A contested case hearing is held. The court rules in favor of the TCEQ and Vulcan.
JUNE 1011, 2019
Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry le a lawsuit against the TCEQ.
FEB. 14, 2020
The 459th District Court held a hearing for the lawsuit.
DEC. 8, 2020
Judge Maya Guerra Gamble rules in favor of plaintis.
SOURCES: STOP 3009, VULCAN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS LLC, VULCAN QUARRYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
If the proposed Vulcan Commercial Materials LLC quarry receives the necessary permits, work at the site could continue for up to 80 years. QUARRY THE PROPOSED
40% of land will remain unexcavated
80YEAR build-out plan 1520 full-time jobs Operations will continue from
THE COMAL QUARRY
6A.M.6P.M. six days a week
SOURCE: VULCAN CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS LLCCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • APRIL 2021
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