Representative Zwiener files aggregate industry bills
Austin, TX -- State Representative Erin Zwiener (D- Driftwood) filed four bills to address concerns from House District 45 residents regarding the proliferating aggregate industry. Aggregate operators include concrete batch plants, gravel pits and stone crushers. With a rapidly growing district, some areas have seen a growing number of aggregate operators who are unconcerned with being good neighbors to the community around them.
“I’m working with my Hill Country neighbors Representatives Terry Wilson and Andy Murr, to provide comprehensive oversight for aggregate operators,” Zwiener said. “This would include looking at the impacts on air quality, groundwater use, transportation infrastructure, public safety, noise pollution and the combined impact of multiple facilities in a community.”
The bills are narrow in scope, and each address a specific concern. They are designed to have minimal impact on the industry. Zwiener’s office is concerned with the noise of operation, damage to local roads because of increased overweight truck traffic and the impact on air and water.
“We have a lot of operators in our district that have been rooted in our community for decades,” Zwiener said. “But as the district has grown, companies have popped up that have no long-term plans of staying and don’t have the community’s interests at heart.”
Zwiener has introduced four bills:
- HB 2939 would require hours of operation for Aggregate Production Operations (APOs) facilities to be between 7 A.M. and 9 P.M. if they are within one-half mile of a single-family residence or hospital.
- HB 3033 would allow county commissioners courts in rapidly urbanizing counties to regulate construction of new APOs facilities by creating set back requirements of one mile from hospitals, places of worship, schools and residences.
- HB 3034 requires APO facilities to have established load limits on roads utilized by such operators, as set by the county commissioners court and Texas Department of Transportation before an air quality permit is issued.
- HB 3035 would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to ensure that the amount of an administrative penalty is at least equal to the value of any economic benefit gained by the alleged violator through the violation.
Zwiener also supports HB 509, introduced by Rep. Terry Wilson, which would create a Railroad Commission umbrella permit for all gravel mining operations in addition to the currently required TCEQ air quality permits.