From the Office of State Senator Troy Fraser

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2005
Contact: Bill Bragg - (512) 463-0124


Austin -- State Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) filed legislation on Monday that would give the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality the authority to regulate rock quarries.

"This is a major step toward increasing regulations for quarries and rock crushing operations," Fraser said. "SB 785 will address public concerns over water protection, blasting safety and traffic control, which are needed to provide greater public safety."

This past interim, Senator Fraser chaired the Advisory Committee on Rock Crushers and Quarries. The committee, created by Governor Perry through an Executive Order, was charged with studying the current permitting process for rock crushers and quarries.

Current law seeks to only protect air quality in the permitting process by limiting emissions through measures specified in the permit. Similarly, protection of water quality is addressed in a limited fashion through the issuance of a stormwater discharge permit.

"Once we started examining the current permitting process, I quickly realized that the issues of most concern to the public -- water, blasting, transportation -- are not considered under current law," Fraser said.

Under Fraser's bill, the quarry permit would require:

Fraser has also filed two other bills which would enact further recommendations from the Advisory Committee. "These bills continue to raise the bar on industry standards while increasing community safety and awareness," Fraser said.

Senate Bill 456 requires vehicles carrying loads of aggregate to be completely tarped. Senate Bill 457 adds that the county judge and county commissioner who represent the area where the facility will be located must also be notified of air quality permit applications.

Fraser has been actively involved in quarry and rock crusher permitting issues since October 2002 when Capital Aggregates, a San Antonio based company, first approached him about a proposed facility in Burnet County. After several years of intense negotiations, Burnet County and Capital Aggregates signed an agreement this past January that Fraser says was the guiding force in developing the legislation.

"This is an industry in need of additional state regulation. These operations have an lasting impact on air, water and the quality of life in the communities where they operate," Fraser said. "These changes are essential to protect the state's natural resources and the public's safety."