TEXAS SENATE PASSES FRASER QUARRY PERMIT BILL
Austin -- The Texas Senate passed legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser (RHorseshoe Bay) on Monday that would increase regulations on rock quarries and rock crushing operations. Senate Bill 785 gives the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality the authority to regulate rock quarries.
"Today the Texas Senate took 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.
Under Fraser's bill, the quarry permit would require:
- A site plan, assessing the environmental soundness of the proposed operation, including a report from an independent hydrologist.
- A blasting plan, including a requirement that all blasting be monitored with a seismograph or vibration monitor.
- A requirement that quarry operators properly construct and maintain all access driveways, acceleration/deceleration lanes, and turn lanes when needed so that the site entrances are safe for the traveling public.
- The bill also requires commercial vehicles carrying loads of aggregate to be completely tarped.
"This is an industry in need of additional state regulation. These operations have a 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."