Hill Country Protest Round Mountain Quarry
By Kellie Bucy
Round Mountain is slated to be the home of a rock crushing plant unless local protestors are successful in getting the permit denied next week.
Local land owners, business owners and ranchers from Round Mountain, Marble Falls and the surrounding area lined US Highway 281 last Saturday and Sunday at the site where Asphalt Inc. has applied for a permit to build a rock crushing plant. The plant is to be located southeast of the US Highway 281 and Texas 71 intersection near Flat Rock Road.
Sound pollution from dynamite explosions, air pollution from blowing dust and damage to the aquifer are among their top concerns.
“I have a lung disease and this is very scary,” said one protestor who lives near the proposed plant site. Many present suffered from immune deficiencies and respiratory conditions which would be negatively affected by the plant. The dust below the surface at the site is reported to contain crystalline silica, a mineral reported to cause lung cancer.
“Dust residue from the rock crushing plant would be blown northwesterly toward Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Marble Falls – which has employees and patients on-site continuously,” said Cactus Companies in a press release last week.
With Johnson City and Marble Falls already facing a housing shortage, land developers and owners are also worried about the plant hindering and preventing the expected residential and commercial growth along the US Highway 281 corridor.
Cactus Companies reported Round Mountain, Marble Falls and Horseshoe Bay officially filed opposition to the rock crushing plant on September 19.
“How much of our Hill Country are we going to send away – it’s got to stop,” said a protestor.
The website, www.highlandlakescleanair.com has been created asking people to demand a hearing before the TCEQ as well as to express their concern to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, State Senator Dawn Buckingham, and State Representative Terry Wilson.
The permit for Asphalt Inc. is complete and is in a 30 day public comment period before being approved or denied. The period ends on Oct. 9. Protests are planned to continue this upcoming weekend, Oct. 6 and Oct. 7.