Senator Fraser Announces Quarry Agreement
Burnet -- Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) went before the Burnet County Commissioners' Court on Monday to announce a contractual agreement between Burnet County and Capital Aggregates, a concrete and aggregate company.
"I am pleased to announce that Capitol Aggregates has agreed to pull down their pending permit application for the Honey Creek quarry," Fraser said. The announcement comes after two years of intense negotiations between Senator Fraser, Capital Aggregates and Burnet County. Fraser continued by saying "Capitol Aggregates has also agreed to make multi-million dollar renovations and improvements to the existing Marble Falls quarry (previously operated by Dean Word)--which means no new quarry in Burnet County."
"I am extremely pleased to join in this announcement today," said Burnet County Judge Dave Kithil. "Senator Fraser brought all the parties together to work out the best deal for Burnet County and we are thankful for the Senator's leadership on this issue. This is a huge victory for the people living in Burnet County."
Capitol Aggregates filed their original permit application to operate at the Honey Creek site in 2002. Prompted by constituent concerns, Senator Fraser became involved in rock quarries and rock crushing issues and was instrumental in holding several public meetings on the pending Honey Creek permit application.
"It was at those initial public meetings in the fall of 2002 that the community and I realized the issues that were generating the most concern were not able to be considered under current Texas law," Fraser said.
Last session, Fraser filed Senate Bill 913 that would have changed the permitting process for quarries. While the legislation was not enacted, it did prompt Governor Rick Perry to create the Advisory Committee on Rock Crushers and Quarries and named Fraser Chairman. Senator Fraser was charged to conduct a study on the authority of TCEQ to consider all appropriate issues in permitting and regulating rock crushers and quarries.
"The legislation I filed last session put pressure on all parties to come to some kind of an agreement," Senator Fraser said. "I believe that is why we are here signing this Community Covenant."
The Advisory Committee's work focused on issues commonly associated with rock quarry and rock crushing operations that currently are not considered by the state as part of the permitting process -- including the impact to ground and surface water and the impact of increased truck traffic. Fraser used the committee work to guide the negotiations between the County and Capitol.
In the agreement signed today, Capital Aggregates has committed to make multi-million dollar investments to upgrade their rail capabilities. They have also ensured that it is their intent to ship all material by rail unless it is to an adjoining county. Capital has also agreed to add acceleration/deceleration lanes and a turn lane to the entrance of their US 281 site as a safety measure.
Capital Aggregates has also agreed to hire a hydrologist to study the Marble Falls quarry to ensure that no damage is done to groundwater or the Ellenberg Aquifer. "The people who live in Burnet County are concerned about their water and this agreement will ensure that whatever mining Capital Aggregate does here will not harm their water supply," said Fraser. As part of the agreement Capital Aggregate will also comply with any applicable rules or regulations from the newly proposed groundwater district.
While the Covenant settles the problems in Burnet County, Senator Fraser continues to work on solving the broader problems of rock crushers and quarries in Texas. Senator Fraser is planning on introducing legislation in the 79th Legislature that would address the many problems associated with rock crusher and quarries.