The hearing on the proposed Vulcan quarry in Comal County is over, however, one major unanswered question lingers. Vulcan maintains the data in the application submitted is correct. 

During discovery, Vulcan refused to provide core sample data of the material they will crush citing it’s a “trade secret.” Residents living adjacent to the proposed site ordered a core sample drilled on their own property — just 30 feet from one of Vulcan’s sampling sites — and was tested by a certified laboratory. During court, the judge admitted this sample data into evidence showing crystalline silica (a carcinogenic contaminant) concentrations five times higher than the sample Vulcan submitted. 

This seems to beg more questions, but the most important is if Vulcan is resolute with the core data information in the application being correct, then why didn’t the Vulcan lawyers present that data at the hearing? That would have ended the discussion and the hearing.

A Vulcan employee testified 41 core samples were drilled for economic viability and all but 3 were destroyed. That employee “had a sense” these three core samples would form a “representative” sample of the entire 1,500 acres, which was included in the application submitted to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

My opinion is the data samples Vulcan destroyed showed the same high concentration of crystalline silica as the resident’s sample, which would squash any hopes of Vulcan opening that quarry. And Vulcan’s trying to convince us they’ll be a good neighbor.

Michael Zimmerman,

New Braunfels

(2) comments

Quincy Adams

Vulcan has no credibility and relying on their collection of cherry picked data should never have been allowed as proof of meeting safety standards. Allowing the fox to guard the hen house is not the way to collect unbiased data. If this was an actual effort to find out if the quarry would create a dangerous health hazard to the thousands of people living nearby, there should be qualified unbiased third parties do the core samples and measure air quality next to the existing quarries, not in some other county as is presently done which tells us nothing about staying within safety limits. Instead, it is pretty clear we are witnessing how big monied interests and politics "game the system" using ineffective oversight rules while pretending they are looking out for the people.

Stephen Baird

Well said, Quincy!

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