TCEQ approves air quality permit for quarry at Needmore Ranch, TESPA file suit
The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality approved the air quality permit requested by Far South Mining to establish a rock quarry at Needmore Ranch. Almost as soon as the permit was approved, a notice was filed by the Trinity Edwards Springs Protection Agency with an intent to sue the mining company in an attempt to stop the development of a quarry.
The permit approved was the first of multiple permits that would be required to establish the quarry. The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality grouped hundreds of questions from the public into 16 groups. Most of the answers clarified what the TCEQ could, or more often could not, take into account.
“The TCEQ cannot deny a permit if the Applicant demonstrates that all applicable statutes, rules, and regulations will be met,” a response from the TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker said. “If the plant is operated as specified in the Standard Permit for Rock and Concrete Crushers, the emissions from the plant authorized by this permit should not adversely impact public health or the environment.”
On Monday, TESPA filed notice of intent to sue Far South Mining stating that they seek “to protect groundwater in the Edwards Aquifer Authority’s jurisdictional ‘red zone,’ and to protect endangered species living in the karst aquifer that flows out at FernBank Springs into the Blanco River and nearby San Marcos Springs.”
A representative from Far South Mining was not immediately available for comment.
TESPA claims that the quarry operations would likely cause a taking of endangered species including the Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle, Golden-cheeked Warbler, San Marcos Springs Salamander and Texas Blind Salamander. It also claims that groundwater pollution is a concern.
“TESPA is taking this action in our role to protect and preserve our groundwater, aquifers, springs, the Blanco River, and this area of the Hill Country,” stated TESPA Executive Director Patrick Cox, Ph.D. “Far South Mining LLC’s proposed quarry and rock crushing operation on the Needmore Ranch pose real threats to federally protected endangered species and their designated critical habitat, and to this very sensitive aquifer and groundwater. This proposed operation should be immediately canceled.”