Annalisa Peace | Greater Edwards Aquifer Authority |
Around 500 Comal County citizens recently attended a TCEQ meeting at the New Braunfels Civic Center to protest a permit for a new Vulcan Quarry proposed for the intersection of FM 3009 and Hwy 46.
Vulcan Materials Company applied for the permit in 2017, sparking a wave of protests by Comal County homeowners who fear the operation will negatively affect their quality of life, impact air and water quality, and damage the surrounding environment.
TCEQ already has issued a draft permit for the site, located in a non-industrial area between Bulverde, Spring Branch, New Braunfels and Garden Ridge. GEAA has joined with area residents to oppose this project and we are collecting funds for legal help to contest the permit through the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
As the last speaker at 11:30 p.m., I heard heartbreaking testimony from 59 Comal citizens who would be negatively impacted by this project. That the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) would even consider permitting such a large industrial operation amongst 12,000 nearby homes is ludicrous. That they would consider issuing the permit for a project on the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone without first requiring plans to protect the Edwards Aquifer and conserve precious groundwater supplies is, sadly, business as usual here in Texas. Since 2005, GEAA has been advocating recommendations for improving the permitting process for aggregate operations. You can GEAA’s comments here. You can read about Tuesday’s meeting here and more media reports here.
Projects such as the new Vulcan Quarry and their proposed cement batch plant in Kendall County are problematic on many levels. At the heart of the problem is the fact that Texas Counties have no authority to prohibit such mayhem. This is especially problematic in the rapidly growing Edwards Aquifer region (otherwise known as the Texas Hill Country). In 2019, GEAA will once more ask the Texas Legislature to give limited land use authority to Bandera, Blanco, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Bexar, Comal, Hays and Travis counties to enable them to deal with growth in the unincorporated areas. This legislation would empower these counties to prohibit incompatible land uses such as these Vulcan projects. We will need resolutions of support from the County Commissioners of each of these counties in order to get this legislation filed. If you can help with that, contact me at Annalisa@AquiferAlliance.org.
You can find out more about how to oppose these projects on the Face Book pages of the Boerne to Bergheim Coalition for a Clean Environment, Bulverde Clean Air, and Stop Vulcan Quarry State Hwy 46 and FM 3009. Stay tuned for more information on GEAA’s legislative agenda and how you can help us build support for 2019.
In other news, a team of experts convened by GEAA last October has released a report detailing recommendations to the City of San Antonio for better managing stormwater. Our findings were distributed to the Mayor and San Antonio City Council on February 22, 2018. GEAA will continue to advocate adoption of these recommendations by the City of San Antonio, and are grateful to Mayor Nirenberg and members of City Council for prioritizing this issue. You can read our Position Paper and Recommendations for Managing Stormwater here, and read more from the Rivard Report here.
We are also working with Western Kentucky University on Under Our Feet, a new website for folks who live over the Edwards Aquifer. You can read more about the project here. We hope to have this campaign up and running in the near future. Stay tuned for more.
If you have not yet signed the petition to protect our springs and rivers from direct discharge of sewage effluent, please visit No Dripping Sewage to lend your support. GEAA will once more be seeking legislation in 2019 to prohibit this filthy practice once and for all. You can read more here and here.