In March, as the pandemic spread across America, the Texas Aggregate and Concrete Association gave a presentation to a convention of industry producers in Las Vegas. The title: “Be Prepared: Protect your Operation from New Tactics in Community Opposition.”
Use of Internet Seen as New Tactic
As far as I can tell from the presentation, the new tactic is the use of the Internet. Wowsers! That’s quite an insight!
In the presentation, they specifically mentioned ReduceFlooding.com. I’m sure I anger these people as much as they anger me. I have met with them five times now. None of the meetings resulted in any change of industry practices. Or even a genuine willingness to explore them.
The Boy Scout Connection
In Austin during the last legislative session, a House committee member (evaluating a bill to establish best management practices for the industry) asked whether TACA had engaged with communities they affected. Mr. Rob Van Til (a mine owner and TACA spokesperson) looked at me waiting to testify, and said, “We’d prefer to talk to the Boy Scouts.” And just like that, the bill died in committee.
TACA sees people trying to protect their communities as the enemy. Instead of engaging with “the opposition” and trying to reform damaging mining practices, they rally support among neutral third parties.
TACA’s presentation in Las Vegas talked about:
- How concrete supports Texas’ growth by providing essential infrastructure materials
- Why “WeRTexas”
- Teacher and school workshops they sponsored
- Legislative and staff tours they promoted
- Chamber of Commerce mixers
- Quarry Days
They also patted themselves on the back for bicycle donations to a children’s charity in San Antonio.
Millions in Back-Door Political Contributions
TACA has also donated millions of dollars to legislators and state officials through a back-door political-action committee called TACPAC. Meanwhile, TACA has refused to acknowledge damaging practices and resisted all attempts to develop meaningful best management practices that address them.
Delivering Air Cover for Members
It’s tough for trade associations to tell members what to do. Loss of members means loss of funding for the association. For the most part, members want air cover from associations. And that’s what TACA delivers.
Communication experts on controversial issues divide the world into three camps: pro, undecided, and anti.
For the record, I like concrete. I DON’T LIKE the irresponsible production of it. And what TACA never shows people and avoids talking about. So I will redouble my efforts. And continue advocating for responsible aggregate and concrete production.
Explain These to The Boy Scouts and Kids Clubs
Below is a tiny sampling of more than 10,000 aerial photos I have taken in the last eight months along the East and West Forks of the San Jacinto in southern Montgomery County.
Let’s turn these into murals at the State Capitol for TACA Day next year. Just so legislators get the full picture.
Unsolicited Advice to TACA
Dear TACA. If you want to protect your organization from community opposition, start cleaning up your act. That would be a new and truly effective tactic.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/3/2020
1039 Days after Hurricane Harvey
The thoughts expressed in this post represent opinions on matters of public concern and safety. They are protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution and the Anti-SLAPP Statute of the Great State of Texas.