Freedom of Information Act Documents Reveal Stamford in Closed Door Negotiations over Coal Plant Water Demand
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents reveal that representatives of the City of Stamford have been negotiating behind closed doors since 2009 with the proposed Tenaska coal plant over what is likely thousands of acre feet per year of Stamford water. Stamford, along with about 94 percent of Texas was in a state of severe, extreme or exceptional drought as of June 7, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and drought conditions are not expected to subside in the near future.
“In this drought, we must preserve Texas water for drinking, agriculture, and future generations – not for an unnecessary coal plant,” said Whitney Root with Texans Against Tenaska. “If allowed, the proposed Tenaska coal plant would use a huge amount of water on a daily basis in a region that is being hit by a severe drought; one that, it appears, will continue into the future. The documents we requested from City of Stamford reveal that Tenaska is funding the lawyers who are advising the City to the tune of over $65,000 – this leads us to conclude that Stamford officials are heeding biased advice. We’d like to see all the facts because we can’t afford to commit this precious resource to Tenaska’s coal plant–not now, and not in the future.”
The documents revealed that since August 18, 2009, Tenaska has been in negotiations regarding an agreement with the City whereby Stamford would provide “firm supply and firm transportation of raw water from Lake Stamford for water demands’ of the proposed coal plant.”
“In west Texas, we are already struggling to preserve our limited water supplies,” says Sarah Strom–Kieschnick, Abilene resident and mother of two. “We have to think about the future. We cannot live without water and this coal plant proposal is demanding water for long after my children will be grown. We have to think of people’s real needs first and our future generations and make sure they have water, too.”
Residents of counties surrounding the proposed Tenaska coal plant have established Texans Against Tenaska to provideinformation to elected officials, other residents and the business and agricultural communities and to build the momentum needed to stop this coal plant.
“Tenaska is the last of a final push to build archaic coal plants throughout the state,” said Ryan Rittenhouse of Public Citizen Texas. “Stamford should not tie themselves to a dirty and outdated technology that will use and pollute massive amounts of water. To start with, City of Stamford should open up this process to the public so all the facts can be known. All stakeholders should be involved in this decision.”