A group with its eyes on the aggregate industry has offered input to state legislators about the impact of its pace of production.
Following submission of a report, Texans for Responsible Aggregate Mining (TRAM) provided expert witnesses recently during meetings hosted by the Texas House Interim Committee on Aggregate Production Operations (HIC-APO).
The group emphasized that Texas is one of seven states that does not have “comprehensive aggregate mining regulations.”
“Unfortunately the APO industry representatives appear to not have taken the process seriously,” said Llano County businessman and rancher Fermin Ortiz in a statement. “It appears they are still not wanting to address the issues that Texans want dealt with.”
The committee, chaired by State Rep. Terry Wilson (District 20), held three days of open testimony, featuring state agencies, subject matter experts, industry representatives and residents to discuss community impacts of the aggregate industry.
“As aggregate production operations (APOs) expand across Texas with minimal regulation, concerns from communities are rising,” according to a TRAM press release. “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.”
HIC-APO has released its final report and is expected to present its recommendations to the 87th Texas Legislature.
The HIC-APO study focused on key issues, including air quality, water quality, groundwater, sedimentation and flooding, commercial vehicle traffic, blasting, noise and light pollution, reclamation, property line distance limitations, economic impacts and municipal ordinances.
Along with Wilson, the legislative committee members are: Armando Martinez, Alma Allen, J.M. Lozano, Andrew Murr, Jared Patterson and Erin Zweiner.