Quarry opponents to ask for statewide halt to mining permits; TCEQ hosting meeting Oct. 11 to gather public input



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Connie Swinney/The Highlander
Grant Dean (on the left) of the Texas Environmental Protection Coalition helped rally protesters against a planned quarry operation by Spicewood Crushed Stone in September at the entryway of Double Horn subdivision in Spicewood. His group is attending a TCEQ public meeting on that air quality permit application at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11 at Lakeside Pavilion in Marble Falls.






Connie Swinney •
Staff Writer •

Grant Dean has a message for the state of Texas and a New York-based company looking to launch a mining operation on 280 acres between two subdivisions in Spicewood in Burnet County.

“This is not just our backyard,” Dean said. “This is everybody's backyard.”

Dean, the co-founder of the Texas Environmental Protection Coalition, has rallied support from several cities in Texas with similar battles before them – rock crusher/quarry operations setting up stakes next to residential neighborhoods.

The latest proposal involves a pending air quality permit by Spicewood Crushed Stone, a company owned by Dalrymple Companies, based in New York.

If approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the company would operate on 280 acres, in the 5500 block of Texas 71, between Double Horn Estates (100 home lots) and the fledgling Spicewood Trails.

Dean say he has coaxed residents and anti-mining groups from at least seven cities as well as legislative representatives to attend an upcoming TCEQ public meeting to express their concerns about the permit application process and the pending permit application.

The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Lakeside Pavilion, 307 Buena Vista in Marble Falls.

“We need everybody there because this will be education,” he said. “We are going to demand, as representatives of all these communities, that the TCEQ executive director puts a moratorium on any new permit applications until the completion of our lawsuit.”

Dean is one of the plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit asking for a judge to review the state's mining permitting process. The lawsuit was sparked by a planned rock crushing operation by a different company, on U.S. 281 off Texas 71 in Burnet County.

The lawsuit has stalled as the company owners vowed to sell off the land following a contentious fight with area landowners, county officials, medical representatives of a nearby hospitals and municipalities including Marble Falls.

To offer more insight into the views of the Dalrymple venture, Dean unveiled a letter from a company representative responding to concerns about air and water quality as well as traffic and noise issues.

“It is apparent from your e-mail that your opinion against quarries is firmly established but we would like to assure you that we have retained the services of highly qualified expert engineering firms to ensure that our proposed development fully complies with all environmental laws and regulations,” the response letter read. “The proposed project has been designed to incorporate mitigation features in order to address the common concerns.”

A legal representative for the proposed Dalrymple project has stated that the company wants to be a “good neighbor.”

Questions expected to be addressed by TCEQ include blasting monitor procedures and state versus federal air quality standards.

TCEQ is also accepting comments by mail and online on the pending Spicewood Crushed Stone permit through Oct. 14.

The following is a link to offer public comments on the proposed permit: http://www14.tceq.texas.gov/epic/eComment/

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