Thanks to the nearly 200 well-informed, passionate Comal County citizens who took time in the middle of a busy weekday morning to make their presence known at the SOAH Preliminary Hearing!
We were pleased that the administrative law judge, Rebecca Smith, granted affected party status to all who requested it—approximately 80 additional households representing around 200 individuals—some of whom live nearly five miles from the proposed quarry. Most of these individuals have chosen to align with Stop 3009 Vulcan Quarry/Friends of Dry Comal Creek and are contributing to the fund for legal representation.
This is your last chance! To request to be an affected party in the eventual contested case hearing on the Vulcan quarry air quality permit, you must attend this preliminary hearing and show how you would personally be affected. Everyone can (and should!) attend this preliminary hearing and request to be an affected person—even if TCEQ has already denied your request.
If you think affected party status for you is a long shot (e.g., you live more than five miles away), please register anyway, request affected party status, and tell the judge how this rock crusher will negatively affect your quality of life, health, and property. It is important to get as many comments and citizens as possible on the record in opposition to this permit.
About the Preliminary Hearing
This preliminary hearing is a precursor to the subsequent contested case hearing. Most testimony at this preliminary hearing will likely be oral, but written documents will help you prepare and serve as references as you address the court.
1. I just found out about the planned quarry. Where do I start? Reviewing resources from our January 30 meeting is the best place to start if you are new to this fight. We have guides, templates, samples, instructions, presentation documents, other helpful resources, and videos of the meeting itself.
2. I already requested (and was denied) affected party status. Why try again? Even if Vulcan and TCEQ have said in the past that you are not an affected person, that no longer matters—the decision is not up to them! The SOAH Administrative Law Judge will make a final decision on March 6 as to your affected person status. This is why it’s so important to show up on March 6! If you aren’t there, you will automatically be excluded. But if you are there and make your request, the judge may very well grant you affected person status.
3. Do I need to mail any paperwork or submit anything to TCEQ online? No. You do not need to submit anything prior to (or even on) March 6. But having a written document to reference—even something simple—will be helpful when orally presenting your affected party request to the judge or answering the specific questions that the court may have for you. If you already submitted a contested case hearing request a few months ago, that paperwork would be very helpful to have on hand.
4. I’m so overwhelmed/confused/busy. Maybe I’ll just sit this one out. Please don’t give up! This hearing is critically important. If you really can’t develop a comprehensive, detailed argument, that’s OK. Please show up, register, and use our easy guide as your reference.
5. I can’t make it on March 6. Can someone else speak for me? We strongly recommend you postpone or cancel any previous engagements that you have for the morning of March 6. However, if you absolutely cannot, you should create a sworn, notarized affidavit authorizing this person to represent you. This is unusual and should only be used in extenuating circumstances since your representative may be asked questions about you and your unique circumstances. In this case, it could be helpful to have a more comprehensive written document that your representative can submit or read from on your behalf.
6. Should I still show up if I’m not requesting affected party status? Absolutely! You can make the greatest impact by requesting affected party status—even if you live several miles away. But if for whatever reason, you will not be doing this, yes, please show up and support your neighbors by filling up the courtroom!