A local nonprofit fighting a quarry’s construction over the Edwards Aquifer will have its second auction event on March 21.
The volunteer-run Stop3009 Vulcan Quarry organization began two years ago, and this year it has a growing list of auction items whose proceeds will go toward attorney fees and scientific research to fight Vulcan Materials Company’s quarry permit.
The Bluebonnet Extravaganza Dinner and Auction will be in the Grande Ballroom in Milltown Historic District and is set for 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The organization does its own scientific research to test for potential environmental impacts and health issues for the area to refute the construction company’s own data.
“The science and tech team has grown and given us research and data and hydrophysicists, geologists, professional engineers,” said Stop3009 President Milann Guckian. “We first started out as a very small group of people and metamorphosed over the last few years.”
In September 2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s commissioners approved the air quality permit for the quarry following a nearly half-year battle in court.
The nonprofit filed a motion Dec. 16 to have the case reheard, but the group said the TCEQ did not respond. Their next step is filing an appeal at the district court level, said David Drewa, Stop3009 director of communications.
The other main permit for the quarry is the water pollution abatement permit, since the quarry would be built over the Edwards Aquifer. Once the application is filed, Stop3009 will look into it.
Last year was the organization’s first auction and featured a silent and live auction. The event quickly sold out tickets, surprising Guckian and all the volunteers.
“We were scared to death since we had never done it before,” Guckian said. “But we were pretty excited since we could sell out 100 tickets and we were allowed to add 20 tickets.”
This year’s auction is selling up to 160 tickets, with prices at $100 and then $125 after March 1.
Items for auction can be donated until Feb. 14, and even afterwards the nonprofit may consider taking certain items. Guckian said items can be incorporated or held for the next auction.
To keep up with the attorney fees and invoices from scientists, the organization needs thousands of dollars and hopes the auction will help.
“To fight this fight through contested hearings, I’ll just say we need a boat load,” Guckian said.
Items auctioned last year included toys for kids and pets, jewelry, a package of from Hill Country Distillers, a golf package, travel packages and other goods.
“We try to keep most of the stuff to our area to have the support of area vendors and stuff we knew this area and the people here would enjoy,” Guckian said.
The organization is fighting the quarry over numerous potential impacts. Drewa said these include air pollution, negative water resource effects, truck traffic, harm to wildlife and property devaluation.
“This particular facility is located entirely over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone,” Drew said. “It is one of the most sensitive features in the whole state of Texas, and there would be mining, blasting and storing chemicals.”
Not only is the organization fighting the quarry, it also urges the Texas Legislature to make its regulations stricter.
“Texas is really lacking regulations,” Drewa said. “Almost every other state has it when it comes to regulations for quarries and plants.”