Hill Country Alliance – Community Program Note:
The Hill Country Alliance is an active member of the Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) coalition. Quarries, gravel mines, sand mines, and concrete batch plants are increasingly posing significant challenges to Hill Country communities. HCA is dedicated to helping address these issues by working with residents, legislators, state agencies, local governments, and industry through participation in TRAM.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2021 CONTACT: Fermín Ortiz, (512) 755-9393, firstname.lastname@example.org
As aggregate production operations (APOs) expand across Texas with minimal regulation, concerns from communities are rising. Unlike other states, Texas does not have comprehensive regulations that apply to APOs, nor does Texas require the use of industry Best Management Practices (BMPs). As a result, APO companies in Texas frequently operate amidst residential neighborhoods, next to schools, and in, along, and above sensitive streams, rivers, and aquifers.
To tackle these issues, the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations (HIC-APO) chaired by State Rep. Terry Wilson (District 20) was formed. The committee held three days of open testimony, hearing from state agencies, subject matter experts, industry representatives, and Texas residents in order to address community impacts of the aggregate industry. TRAM’s Science and Tech Committee members testified as expert witnesses on numerous issues regarding the rapidly expanding aggregate industry in Texas.
The HIC-APO study focuses on key issues, including air quality, water quality, disruption of groundwater, sedimentation & flooding, commercial vehicle traffic, blasting, noise & light pollution, reclamation, property line distance limitations, economic impacts, and municipal ordinances.
“Texas needs aggregate production operations, but we also need common-sense regulation,” said Milann Guckian, a retired refinery operations technician in New Braunfels, Tx. “We are encouraged by the HIC-APO study. TRAM, its member organizations, and Texas communities appreciate the time, effort, research, patience, and due diligence that Representative Wilson, the other legislative committee members, and their staffs dedicated to this collaborative enterprise.”
HIC-APO has released its final report and will present its recommendations to the 87th Texas Legislature. All seven legislative committee members, Terry Wilson (R), Armando Martinez (D), Alma Allen (D), J.M. Lozano (R), Andrew Murr (R), Jared Patterson (R), and Erin Zweiner (D), signed the report making it a truly bipartisan endeavor. The two APO industry representatives that had the privilege of being members of the HIC-APO declined to sign the final report. Fermin Ortiz, a Llano county businessman and rancher, states “Unfortunately the APO industry representatives appear to not have taken the process seriously. It appears they are still not wanting to address the issues that Texans want dealt with.”
Find the final report here: HIC APO Committee Report Final (texas.gov)
Stay informed by visiting www.TRAMTexas.org and following our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for news updates.
Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) is a statewide coalition of member groups seeking to work with lawmakers, state agencies, and good-faith industry operators to create state standards for best management practices in the rapidly expanding Aggregate Production Operation (APO) industry and adopt those standards into law. Our goal is to create a healthier, safer, and more desirable community for Texans as well as a more efficient APO industry that is aligned with the concerns of the communities in which they operate.