City will protest new quarry

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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Limestone quarries are nothing new for the Chico area, but a company looking at adding another one close to the city limits shouldn’t expect a warm welcome.

The City of Chico has filed a letter with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requesting a public meeting and a contested-case hearing regarding an air quality permit submitted by P&K Stone for a new limestone quarry. In the permit request, the company describes the location as approximately 1 mile east of town – but Mayor J.D. Clark said the quarry would be 1,700 feet from the city limits, and part of the property would be inside the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

“It’s closer than any crusher has ever been to town,” Clark said.

The property is located on the north side of Farm Road 1810, across the road from an entrance to the Hanson Aggregate plant.

POSSIBLE QUARRY LOCATION - The map above shows the location of P&K Stone's proposed Chico Quarry and its proximity to the City of Chico.

POSSIBLE QUARRY LOCATION – The map above shows the location of P&K Stone’s proposed Chico Quarry and its proximity to the City of Chico.

According to P&K’s application, the operation would be “portable.”

“During the year, equipment may move off of the proposed property to other job sites. Operations would be year-round, but production and processing may fluctuate depending on inventory, market demand and other factors,” the application states.

Because there will not be any “stationary” processing or power generating equipment on the property, “P&K believes that the engine emissions associated with the mobile processing units are exempt from permitting,” the application states.

The city’s letter outlines some of the air quality concerns, including what it says is a lack of information regarding “nuisance controls to demonstrate that human health or welfare, animal life, vegetation or property will be unaffected by the application.”

The dust that could be created from the facility is another concern, particularly in interfering with driving conditions.

“I don’t know anybody in Chico who will tell you we don’t have enough dust in the air,” Clark said.

The letter also states that the application does not provide “sufficient material … to determine if the equipment used in the operations will truly be mobile in order to discount engine emissions.”

Clark said the quarry not only is close to homes within the city limits but also several city-owned properties as well. The school district’s ag facility is also located close to the proposed quarry location.

The mayor’s concern extends beyond air quality. Clark said the blasting to break up the rocks will take place below the level of the water table. He’s also concerned about increased traffic in an area that already has heavy truck traffic.

Clark said individuals can also request a public meeting and contested case hearing. If residents would like help in writing a letter, they can call city hall at 940-644-2435. The deadline to submit a letter to TCEQ is Friday, April 19.

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