On Aug. 14, a public notice ran in the Reporter regarding an application for an air quality permit. Tommy Davis of Slick Machines applied for the permit to move a rock crushing operation to 11209 HWY 67 in Somervell County.

The permit application has raised concern from many county residents, prompting a letter writing campaign to let the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) know that such a facility is not wanted.

Residents had 30 days after the notice ran to get their concerns to the TCEQ Chief Clerk. However, with the 30-day window now closed, residents may still get a chance to have their voices heard.

A check of the Chief Clerk database on Tuesday showed that Davis has not yet returned the required proof of publication, meaning residents may still get their letters and comments into the clerk if they hurry.

To date, 17 requests for public meetings have been received, along with 21 requests for a contested hearing case.

Anyone can request a public hearing, which allows residents to question the permit applicant and TCEQ. However, only “affected parties” can request a contested hearing. TCEQ defines an affected party as someone who owns a home with a quarter mile of the proposed facility.

If a state representative or senator contacts TCEQ on behalf of his or her constituents, then the likelihood of a hearing goes up.

After the 30-day deadline, the TCEQ executive director staff reviews the file and determines if there has been significant public interest to warrant a public hearing. A TCEQ public assistance representative said there is no magic number to define “significant public interest,” and each case is evaluated one at a time.

Residents can fax their comments directly to the Chief Clerk at (512) 239-3311 and then mail their comments in to:

Office of the Chief Clerk

MC: 105 TCEQ

PO BOX 13087

Austin, TX 78711-3087

All correspondence should reference air quality permit number 82199L002.

The direct phone number for the Chief Clerk office is (512) 239-3300.

Davis can be reached in Brownwood at (325) 784-8030.