THE ISSUES LOCAL CONTROL
The Texas Hill Country is known as a tourist destination and a number one location for Texans to retire. Part of its rugged beauty comes from its unique geology including huge limestone deposits that make up the recharge zone of our Edwards aquifer (water source to around 1.5 million).
Unfortunately, 80 percent of the limestone that is most desirable as aggregate is located in the in Texas Hill Country. Quarries that crush limestone into gravel, sand pits, concrete plants, and other industrial activity are rapidly expanding in the Hill Country. The increase in these industries would be devastating to our local air and water quality but the current demand for construction aggregate makes them profitable despite near unanimous opposition by local residents. Aggregate companies own and are rapidly purchasing agricultural and ranch land for quarry, cement, and asphalt operations. Residents have discovered that their local county governments have little to no power to stop the destruction of the hills, caves, and springs or to stop the pollution of our air and water. It is going to take new legislators in the Texas House and Senate to push for local control over development in the Hill Country and pass the necessary statutes.
What can be done?
State of Texas currently has very few requirements for aggregate mining (unlike other western states like Colorado and Wyoming). I would absolutely support legislation that standardizes the rules for aggregate mining relating to water use, wastewater, blasting, transport, etc. Texas should require companies to meet the same standards that coal and uranium miners currently meet.
I support legislation to grant authority to county governments to implement common sense land use rules and monitoring of aggregate plants at a local level.
I would protect and support our cultural and historic districts, our tourist areas, and our state parks. People will not continue to want to vacation and retire here if the air is full of silica dust from rock crushers, the roads clogged with heavy trucks, and the landscape pitted with quarries. I would support a different future for our precious Hill Country and seek to nurture the businesses that bring people here instead of industries that will repel them.
Here are more links to important information on these issues from non-partisan groups. These are resources, no endorsement or connection to my campaign or to Democratic affiliation.