Contact: Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, 626-506-9651
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen Texas, 440-796-9695
Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and No Coal Coalition call on LCRA Board to Reject Coal Plant Water
Citizens Want Questions Answered saying Coal Plant Would use Too Much Water
(Austin) The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and lower Colorado River Ranchers today urge members of the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to vote at their meeting this morning to deny a water contract requested by the proposed White Stallion coal plant.
“We have to face the facts- there simply isn’t enough water in the Colorado river to cool these old style power plants,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen. “We’re facing the worst drought in 50 years and maybe in history and yet LCRA staff has their head in the sand and is recommending approval of this contract when all indications show that there isn’t enough water to go around. We call upon the Board to exercise judgment and just say ‘No’ when the staff is taking a wrong turn.”
Members of Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition, other environmental groups and many residents from both the Highland Lakes and Matagorda and Wharton County ends of the LCRA’s managed water basin are attending the meeting at the LCRA headquarters in Austin this morning – some with signs outside. Many came to make public comments at the microphone.
“Do we really want the coal industry to trump agricultural water needs and the environment that sustains life?” said Susan Dancer, wildlife rehabilitator and owner of Matagorda County Texas Blessings Ranch. “During this drought, we are especially in need of water to irrigate our human and livestock food crops as well as our hay production. We need enough freshwater inflow into Matagorda Bay and estuaries to provide the brackish water necessary for many of our fish and shellfish species to reproduce. The LCRA Board must consider the hidden costs of such a facility as White Stallion. Taking our water for an un-needed coal plant is one of the ways White Stallion would cripple the existing economy and damage agriculture and the environment. We ask the LCRA board to manage our water wisely, refuse this contract today, or wait to consider the decision more carefully.”
The Sierra Club released a report this week, “Proposed White Stallion Coal-Fired Power Plant Water Demands and the Highland Lakes Water Supply”.
The report’s author Dr. Lauren Ross said, “According to the water management plan, there is not enough water available for the White Stallion request. Committing water to this proposed coal plant would compromise agricultural and environmental flows during the most severe historical drought of record.”
At the LCRA’s Water Management Committee meeting last night, members of the LCRA board commented that they had only been updated yesterday morning, they hadn’t had time to finish reading a new proposed contract, and that they wanted the board to take the time to inform citizens on the details.
Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign organizer, Lydia Avila attended both the meeting last night and today’s Board meeting.
Avila said, “The Board must deny this permit today or at the very least, slow down and reconsider such a potentially damaging decision. The evidence against this proposal is in and people, including the LCRA Board of Directors deserve to know more. The proposed White Stallion coal plant would displace other water users at a time when extreme drought means we must carefully conserve water for the most important uses,” said Lydia Avila with Sierra Club. “We don’t need new coal plants, including this one. We already have enough electricity generation on the grid and we simply can’t afford to burn away our precious water in coal steam. Texas is are already working on phasing out existing coal plants in favor of clean, water-wise renewable energy such as wind and solar power. ”
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Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club