Author Archives: jnester

High noon at the Sunset Review

Austin, TX – The Sunset Review process is in full swing at the state capitol. A great number of concerned individuals have provided personal testimonies about the environmental issues confronting the state. In the recent discussions, citizens highlighted the issues facing, in particular, San Antonio and New Braunfels in the form of proposed toll roads threatening the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, which provides water to two million Texans. In addition, countless people supported changing the commissioner structure of the TCEQ. The most popular proposal has been a single, state-wide elected commissioner. This would allow the citizens of Texas to choose their representative, instead of a using a board of appointed, puppet comissioners who serve as rubber stamp for industry. Others proposed a three-five member board of elected commissioners to ensure that the environmental agency is held accountable. Regardless of structure, TCEQ officials should be democratically elected in order to reflect the opinions of the people.

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Tenaska’s plans for Abilene: All Dried Up

Abilene, TX- Earlier today, Tenaska pulled out of talks with the City of Abilene regarding the purchase of water for the proposed coal-fired power plant. Mayor Norm Archibald announced that Abilene would not sell water to Tenaska, expressing his concerns about the city’s future water supply. Lauren Ross of Glenrose Engineering indicated that even if the plant’s water demands were significantly reduced, “The water demands of the proposed Tenaska facility cannot be met with Nolan County water supply resources unless existing uses are displaced.” Reports noted that Abilene’s effluent water has been decreasing, thereby increasing the gap between the supply and demand for water. Opposition to the plant’s creation is strong. It seems that the few sources of water are still unwilling to sell to the dirty coal plant.

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Abilene rolls, strolls, and Fights Coal

ABILENE, Texas — Days ago, local residents of Abilene used the one of the most iconic symbols of environmentalism, the bicycle, to show their opposition to the coal-fired power plant proposed for construction. Residents young and old came out to show their opposition to the dirty coal plant attempting to set up shop in their backyards. The riders, donning brightly colored “Roll Beyond Coal” shirts, cruised through the trails in Nelson Park. Countless local citizens oppose the Tenaska plant and the harmful health and environmental effects it will inevitably produce. The ride was one of nine similar events throughout Texas in an attempt to spread awareness about the terrible effects of dirty coal.

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Abilene says No to selling water

In a recent survey conducted at Abilene Christian University, students found that nearly 50% of Abilene’s citizens are against selling water to the proposed coal-fired plant with only 28% supporting the water sales.  The data also shows a minority majority of citizens who support the construction of the plant and many are still unsure.  Despite the fact that an estimated 100 permanent jobs may result from Tenaska’s presence, the issue of water still remains at the focal point of the discussion.  While the economic incentives are strong, it seems that the citizens of Abilene aren’t willing to give their water up.

The Future of Abilene’s Water

polluted water ABILENE- Did you know that coal-fired power plants are one of the largest users of water for energy?  According to Matthew Tresaugue of the Houston Chronicle, coal-fired power plants suck up over 150 billion gallons of water each year in Texas alone.  That’s enough water for over 3 million people!  Out in west Texas, water is a precious commodity.  Out in West Texas the proposed Tenaska plant is attempting to find ways to use the community’s precious, scarce water reserves.  Not only that, but in an attempt to make their dirty coal a little bit less dirty, Tenaska’s coal plant will install scrubbers attached to the smoke stacks.  Now, this might seem like a great idea at first, but these scrubbers use copious amounts of water in order to clean the smoke stacks.  The problem, in addition to the even greater consumption of water, is that once the scrubbers have “cleaned” the smoke stacks, all of the water is released right back into the environment.  According to the New York Times, this tainted water contains hazardous chemicals like lead and arsenic, which are not prohibited by the Clean Water Act when coming from Coal waste. Imagine having your drinking water poisoned with arsenic or lead!  If Tenaska is granted a permit, toxic water could be a reality for the city of Abilene, that is, if the plant leaves them any water at all.

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