Despite Community Concerns, Texas Aggregates Industry Drives Economic Growth

Williamson County, Texas, reportedly has the most quarries of any other county in the state. So it’s no surprise that community opposition to quarry operations there is higher than elsewhere. The Coalition for Responsible Aggregate Mining (CREAM) is spearheading that opposition.

Michael Spano, the co-founder of CREAM told Fox 7 News, “As we drive, we see them. Some of them blast and shake our neighborhoods.”

CREAM allegedly surveyed county residents and asserts that:

  • 97% have had a negative experience with a quarry.
  • 45% have had property damage from quarry blasts.
  • 61% experienced excessive dust from a quarry.
  • 55% have experienced damage to their vehicles.
  • 90% have felt quarry blasts.

Organizers are trying to get a council advisory board together where they can hold more conversations with rock quarry owners and elected officials with goals to work on legislative changes that might decrease some of the impacts of quarries that they say they see daily, according to Fox 7 News. 

Unfortunately, Fox 7 News failed to get comment from the Texas aggregates industry to balance its reporting. Rock Products reached out to the Texas Aggregates & Concrete Association (TACA) for a response.

PM051420 Leftwich
Josh Leftwich

“Now more than ever, construction materials are needed to maintain and build the state’s infrastructure,” said Josh Leftwich, TACA president and CEO. “According to 2023 population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 473,000 people moved to Texas over the past year, more than any other state. That’s nearly 40,000 a month, or nearly 1,300 a day.

“Williamson County, for example, has grown 10% from 2020 to 2022, reflecting growth that requires materials that aggregate quarries provide, including sand, gravel and crushed stone – all key ingredients in concrete,” Leftwich continued. “As the state adds more residents, demand for the aggregates to construct our roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and homes continues to grow. To break that down, a mile of six-lane highway requires approximately 15,000 yd. of concrete and a local hospital 30,000 yd. A high school football stadium demands a whopping 100,000 yd. Even a typical 2,000-sq.-ft. home requires approximately 70 yd. – which is seven to eight truckloads of ready-mix.

“In Texas, the industry is highly regulated,” Leftwich said. “Operators are required to comply with a broad range of state laws and mandates that can include maintaining an Aggregate Production Operation registration, a Storm Water Permit and an Air Permit, which are all part of myriad environmental regulations that have been put in place to guarantee protections that ensure the protection of human health and the environment.

“TACA members are extremely conscious of being good neighbors and believe in fostering productive and healthy community relations through constructive channels of dialogue that develop solutions to mitigate issues relating to the production and transportation of aggregate materials,” Leftwich said. “This includes instituting best practices that lessen noise, dust and other considered nuisances – oftentimes at their own expense and when not required by any regulatory body. 

“TACA unequivocally condemns the bad actors that fail to respect the communities in which they operate. It is imperative to hold accountable those who don’t play by the rules. TACA has long advocated for increased funding to TCEQ so the agency can effectively investigate and penalize offenders. It’s important to note that not all the state’s aggregate operators are members of TACA,” Leftwich concluded.

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