Guest Blog post by Dean Speer, Abliene, TX local resident and student at University of California, Berkely College of Natural Resources.
In a state that is suffering through severe droughts and hosting numerous dry rivers and fading lakes, Water has become paramount. The fact is that 94% of Texas is in a current state of drought, with nearly 50% of the state experiencing what has been labeled “exceptional drought”. These droughts are expected to continue with the possibility of an increase in their severity. As if this wouldn’t be enough to get most Texans worrying, wildfires are raging across the countryside destroying homes and plaguing ranchers and farmers. This could make any person wonder what is going to be left of this great state for their children.
Don’t take my word for it, research it for yourself.
Personally I found an article devoted to Droughts within Texas and another about the the dwindling lake levels. With the ever increasing population of Texas I wasn’t surprised to find an article about the growing demand of water facing the shortage in supply of water. Sadly it gets worse, I also educated myself on how a lack of water threatens the growth of our state. The Hill country itself is in a harsh drought that is starting to affect more than humans..
In the heat of this disaster, while cities and individuals are coming together to try and secure what scarce water resources remain for the essentials of drinking, agriculture and local business, Tenaska has been behind the scenes trying to make thirty year contracts for thousands of acre feet of water per year to cool their coal plant facilities. Contracts that would even under the extreme conditions of drought provide water to the coal plant despite the possible needs of families. Tenaska is a business that operates for profits, not for the betterment and protection of the people it is taking its water resources from. Our children could go to bed thirsty while the Tenaska pipes surge with water.
After the coal plant failed to wrangle Abilene and Sweetwater out of their water, Tenaska has targeted Stamford. A recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) probe has shown that representatives of the City of Stamford and Tenaska have, without the public’s knowledge or input, been negotiating a water contract since 2009. This contract states that the city of Stamford would provide “firm supply and firm transportation of raw water from Lake Stamford for water demands” of the coal plant. The FOIA probe also showed that Tenaska is funding the lawyers who are advising the city of Stamford, over $65,000, on the contract. When people who are in charge of protecting the citizens are receiving advice paid for by the same company who is trying to take their water a person is left wondering whether or not their best interests are being protected.
The result is the rise of local citizens to protect their own best interests and futures. Grassroots organizations like Texans Against Tenaska and Abilenians Against Tenaska provide the information Tenaska does not to elected officials, their neighboring residents and the business and agricultural communities. Real people are coming together and building the momentum needed to save their right to water by stopping Tenaska.
The question Texans should be asking themselves is whether we need water or we need more energy? According to the “State of the market” report published by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas our supply of energy is outpacing our demand. The cherry on the top is that our energy reserves used to cushion major outages, required at 13% of total use, is at 21%. On one hand we have water (droughts, shortages, hazy futures) and on the other hand we have the Tenaska coal plant (water guzzling, dirty, surplus of energy). You decide, because if you remain silent Tenaska will decide for you.
For more information or to volunteer your talents,
see http://texansagainsttenaska.org/ or ‘friend’ Texans Against Tenaska on Facebook.
Send an email to the Stamford Mayor and city council members now before it’s too late. You can send a message even if you don’t live in the city of Stamford. Click here, and spread the word!