Sarah Eckhardt praises step toward environmental monitoring around TXI Aggregate Mine
“It’s an important piece of a comprehensive agreement I helped negotiate as Travis County Commissioner.”
Sarah Eckhardt released the following statement today:
Today, the county is releasing baseline measurements for environmental quality around the soon to be operational TXI Aggregate Mining site near the unincorporated community of Austin’s Colony and other nearby residential neighbors in Eastern Travis County. These baseline measurements provide essential evidence if their homes are threatened by pollutants from their industrial neighbor. If environmental harm occurs and TXI caused it, TXI can be held accountable.
In late 2011, Eastern Travis County residents were stunned that more than 1000 acres of land right next to their homes would be mined for gravel and the State had already provided the aggregate mining company a permit. All that stood between them was a miniscule 50 foot buffer required by TCEQ and a ministerial permit from the joint office of the City and the County regarding traffic plans, storm water and water quality.
By using its leverage in the permitting process and asserting a claim to more than 600 acres of the proposed mining site that had already been identified as high priority parkland scheduled for acquisition, Travis County was able to bring TXI to the negotiating table. The results announced to the residents today and every year moving forward are the product of a multi-party agreement between TXI, the City of Austin, LCRA and Travis County that I helped negotiate while on the Commissioners Court. In addition to important environmental monitoring, the agreement provides Travis County residents larger buffers from the aggregate mining operation than state law requires, reduced truck traffic on area roads, right-of-way for a much needed additional bridge across the Colorado River, and the long-desired parkland crucial to completing a trail system that will run from the headwaters of Gilleland Creek near Pflugerville all the way to where it joins with the Colorado River near SH 183 and US 71. The Gilleland Creek Trail will connect to the Onion Creek Trail to traverse the entire Eastern half of the County.
I hope this agreement serves as a template for more collaboration making it possible for us to live, work and move through our sensitive and unique environment while preserving it for generations to come.”