October 2, 2020
As a result of the concerns raised about Aggregate Production Operations during the 86th legislative session, an Interim Charge Committee was created. It’s primary objective is to examine the oversight, impact, and growth of the APO Industry in Texas. The Interim Charge Aggregate Production Operation Committee, lead by Rep. Terry Wilson, held three town hall meetings on September 29 (Impact of the APO Industry on the Texas economy and of Texas regulations on the APO Industry), September 30 (Impact of the APO Industry on Texas Communities), and October 1 (Impact of the APO Industry on Texas). Members of the APO Industry, academia, state agencies, state and local officials and citizens all participated in testimony.
A number of District 73 constituents participated in these meetings and represented our district’s concerns extremely well. They outlined their positions regarding the APO’s impact on air quality, groundwater availability (volume and quality), traffic safety, the integrity of heavily used roadways, the public’s health, the APO use of eminent domain, the location of particulate matter monitors used by the TCEQ, the location of APO’s over groundwater aquifer recharge zones, property values, the blasting techniques used by APO’s, the location of APO’s next to housing residents, schools, and churches, etc. Moreover, they thoroughly discussed the shortcomings of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s programs for enforcing and permitting APO facilities. The facilities cover a multitude of operations like rock quarries, sand and gravel operations, concrete batch plants, asphalt plants, etc. Many participants addressed the need for the TCEQ to address not only the air quality effects of a single facility on the surrounding areas but the cumulative effects of a number of APO’s located in close proximity. Additionally, the planned Vulcan Construction Materials APO facility for the FM 3009 area was highlighted by various individuals. These people mentioned many of the concerns above and stressed the need for the TCEQ to not issue a final operating permit for this facility.
My staff and I have been closely monitoring this committee, and we are pleased that the committee has genuinely reached out to the public on this very important issue to the Hill Country. Like the concerned citizens of District 73, I want to ensure that the public’s health, safety, welfare are properly protected. As equally important, I want to ensure that the natural resources of the Hill Country are not negatively impacted due to APO’s using large volumes of groundwater, and that the APO mined land, which is not currently permitted, is eventually reclaimed. A number of significant reforms need to occur regarding the TCEQ permitting of APO’s. I am committed to work with the TCEQ, other state agencies, my state and local elected colleagues, and the public to ensure reasonable and meaningful changes occur.
The Interim Charge Committee Report is planned to be finalized in the November/December time frame. Should you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact Ms. Karin Dyer, my Chief of Staff, or Larry Bailey, my environmental policy advisor, at 512.463.0325.
To view the town hall meetings, click the links below:
Anyone interested in having their ideas/positions included into the formal record needs to submit their written comments to Jeff.Frazier_hc@House.Texas.gov. before 5:00 pm on October 30, 2020.