The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has scheduled a public meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, in the Glen Rose ISD auditorium regarding Slick Machines’ air quality permit application.
“Obviously with a large venue such as the auditorium, we are going to need a big turnout from all groups in Glen Rose that are concerned about the Rock Crusher going into Chalk Mountain,” said Darrell Best, founder and president of the Save Chalk Mountain Foundation.
The fight began last summer when Tommy Davis, owner of Slick Machines, ran a legal notice in the Reporter that he had applied for an air quality permit and intended to operate a rock crusher on private property off Highway 67 near the Somervell-Erath county line.
One public meeting was held in October 2008 where residents launched a round of questions at TCEQ and Davis.
“Specifically, we need to ask the TCEQ why they have never answered any of the questions raised at the October 23 meeting,” Best said.
Best and a team of attorneys plan to ask just that. He also wants to know why the TCEQ said the application complied with the rules and regulations set by the commission when residents pointed out more than 20 flaws in October.
“Why have we never been provided with complete documentation on the permit application as per the notices in the local papers - specifically site plans and emission calculations?” Best added.
He also pointed out that Slick Machines took 44 days to place the second legal notice in the paper, but the law only provides 33 calendar days.
“It’s more than a bit offensive that the TCEQ has deemed to treat us as rudely as they have in not answering our questions from six months ago,” Best said. “It’s offensive that when asked why the permit was deemed compliant with the technical requirements when we noted over 20 flaws and the engineer said he hadn’t even bothered to read our analysis.”
Best was also not happy with the timing of the second public meeting.
“It is a bit heavy handed that the TCEQ sends notice about a meeting during spring break, when a lot of people are out of town, so we don’t have time to rally everyone to a meeting,” Best said. “They are giving us two weeks notice, but it seems a bit like they could have easily given us 30 days notice, and made sure we received it in time to get the meeting notice in the paper more than once.”
Another issue becoming more pressing with the arrival of spring, is the fact that the Golden-Cheek Warbler has migrated to the area.
The warbler, which nests only in Texas, was placed on the endangered species list in 1990. And on March 7, Jim Jones, a birder from Bedford, snapped a photo of one on property adjacent to the proposed crushing facility.
The upcoming public meeting will consist of an informal discussion period and a formal comment period.
During the informal discussion, residents can ask TCEQ questions concerning the application and can also query Davis. However, comments made during this portion will not be on record and will not be considered during the application review.
Residents will need to give comments and questions for the record during the formal comment time period. A written response will then be given to all formal comments after all comment periods end.
Melinda Taylor, a law professor at the University of Texas in Austin, and her environmental law students plan to attend the meeting and ask questions as well.
Citizens can submit written comments anytime during the meeting. Comments can also be mailed to the TCEQ before the meeting to: attention Chief Clerk, TCEQ, Mail Code MC-105, PO Box 13087, Austin, TX 78711-3087. Submissions can also be made online at www.tceq.state.tx.us/about/comments/html.
The permit application, TCEQ executive director’s preliminary ruling and draft permit is available for viewing at the Somervell County Library, 108 Allen Drive in Glen Rose.