TCEQ approves facility for controversial limestone quarry in Texas

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved an air quality permit for a Vulcan Materials rock crushing facility between Bulverde and New Braunfels.

A report by the San Antonio Business Journal says the facility will sit on a 1,500-acre quarry between Bulverde and New Braunfels.  It will be used for mining limestone.

The three TCEQ commissioners gave Vulcan the green light, following a decision by an administrate law judge that particulate matter and crystalline silica released by crushing the rock will not exceed state limits.

TCEQ chairman Jon Niermann is quoted as saying: “The Texas Government Code prohibits the Commission from substituting its own judgement in place of the ALJ’s judgement. And I would add that even if we were tempted to do so, we would very likely be overturned on appeal at the expense of all of the parties, as well as the Texas taxpayers.”

The move follows arguments put forward from a company attorney and an attorney representing Comal County landowners and residents opposing the construction of the quarry.

A policy analyst for State Representative Kyle Biedermann read a letter into the record that Biedermann wrote to the commissioners, calling on the TCEQ to impose tougher standards on quarries and other aggregate production operators seeking permits.

The letter said the current standards do not adequately protect public health or the environment and put the drinking water in danger of being polluted as  Vulcan’s facility and a number of others are over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.

Friends of Dry Comal Creek also opposed the quarrying, saying it planned to file a motion asking the TCEQ to reconsider its decision.

The company did not respond to a request for comment. Vulcan still needs to file for a water quality permit to operate the plant.


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