Public Interest Groups Applaud LCRA’s Decision to Postpone Water Vote

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, No Coal Coalition and other environmental organizations applaud the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) decision late Wednesday afternoon to indefinitely delay a controversial water contract for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.   The vote was indefinitely delayed for the water contract because attorney of the White Stallion coal plant requested changes to the proposed contract, some of which are unprecedented for an LCRA water contract.

This announcement from LCRA comes on the same day Travis County Court Judge Nora Livingston upheld a decision to remand the White Stallion air pollution permit back the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) because the company filed multiple and conflicting plot plans to different governmental agencies.   In July of 2010, Administrative Law Judges who originally heard the case on the air pollution permit recommended denial of the air permit because of the many flaws that did not meet the minimum Clean Air Act safeguards that every coal plant in the country is legally obligated, yet TCEQ granted an illegal air permit anyway.

“LCRA has already received over 2,200 letters and email in opposition to this plant from community members up and down the basin as well as from city, state and county officials.  LCRA manages the water for the State of Texas which meant the water belongs to the people and the people don’t want it to go to a coal plant, “said Tom “Smitty” Smith with Public Citizen Texas. “White Stallion is trying to take us for a spin, and LCRA should outright deny the water contract once and for all.”

The proposed White Stallion coal plant does not have any of the necessary permits in hand that are required.  Not only have they met multiple snags when applying for the flawed air pollution permit and the controversial water contract, they still do not have the required waste water permit from TCEQ, the 404 permit from the US Army Corps of Engineers, nor the Greenhouse Gas Permit from the EPA.

“White Stallion doesn’t have the finances lined up to build a $4 billion coal plant. ,” said Allison Silva, President of the No Coal Coalition.  “First, White Stallion pulls a bait and switch with multiple site plans to multiple permitting agencies, and then asks for more time to pay for Texans’ water. If White Stallion cannot execute on a water contract, how can we expect them to execute on jobs?”

The proposed White Stallion coal plant faces these obstacles and may not be built:

  1. Air permit remanded back to TCEQ, judge upholds remand
  2. 404 Permit from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  3. Waste Water Permit from TCEQ
  4. Water contract from LCRA – delayed indefinitely
  5. Other economic obstacles

“It is highly plausible that we will see the same tricks and scams when White Stallion applies for the other needed permits from TCEQ, Army Corps of Engineers and EPA,” said Eva Hernandez with the Sierra Club, “but the writing is on the wall – coal plants are an outdated sources of energy.  In Texas we have a plethora of renewable energy alternatives like solar and wind that make more sense for the environment, for health, and for the economy.”

For more information on the flaws of the proposed White Stallion coal plant, visit www.nocoalcoalition.org.

-Posted by Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

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One response to “Public Interest Groups Applaud LCRA’s Decision to Postpone Water Vote

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