A judge in the 459th District Court in Travis County has ruled in favor of concerned citizen groups more than one year after filing a lawsuit opposing a proposed quarry owned by Vulcan Construction Materials LLC.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 14, 2020, by Friends of Dry Comal Creek and Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, aimed to reverse the TCEQ’s November 2019 approval of air-quality permits submitted by Vulcan for its proposed rock-crushing facility.

Plaintiffs raised concerns that the new facility could increase area air pollution, pose a threat to the Edwards Aquifer or lead to decreased property values in nearby neighborhoods, according to a press release from Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry.

Judge Maya Guerra Gamble heard the case on Dec. 8 before ruling in favor of the plaintiffs March 5, calling for the TCEQ’s approval of the air permit to be reversed and vacated.

According to the ruling, the TCEQ’s determination that the proposed plant’s crystalline silica emissions would not negatively impact human health was not supported by substantial evidence.

Additionally, the judge ruled that Vulcan's air-dispersion modeling did not adequately account for cumulative impacts or road emissions.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs are now responsible for drafting a final order, according to a press release from Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry, which will be presented to the defendants. A hearing has been set for April 2 should the parties disagree on the final order, and the TCEQ and Vulcan will have the option to appeal the decision to the 3rd Court of Appeals.

In addition to the air-quality permit, the quarry must also receive approval from the TCEQ for a water pollution abatement permit in order to begin operations.