-Guest blog on the Fayette coal plant by Sierra Club supporter Elaine Blodgett. Check out Lost Pines Lefty for more of Elaine’s blogs.
Just yesterday I was at a town hall with my state representative. When I asked a question about our water future, he informed me that our aquifer is possibly the most productive in Texas right now. As such, it is highly desired by many areas around the state without such a resource. People in this area are understandably concerned about whether enough of ‘our’ water will be left for us when the more populous and growing parts of the state really set their sights on it.
Texas as a whole must start thinking seriously and maturely about water. Our antiquated laws are not good enough in the 21st century. We must explore all alternatives to maintain our supplies.
One place we most certainly have not looked up to now is at our energy production. Besides all the other negative aspects to coal production and use (land destruction, pollution and toxins), it uses more water than cleaner types of energy provision. Right here in the LCRA region there is a coal plant which uses 13 milliion gallons of water EVERY DAY. In an area where the lakes are shrinking and there are battles among the people living up and down the river over who can have how much water, it seems clear we cannot afford this anymore. To continue this facility, by federal environmental statutes, the LCRA will soon have to spend millions to stop the pollution which it has been raining down on local residents. Is it really worth it when Texas is a prime source of wind and solar energy?
Even our Republican U.S. representative is actively promoting Texas wind power.
And at a time when everyone is concerned with health care costs, can we afford the costs that this plant and others like it foist off on us, thereby hiding their true toll? If we added all these hidden costs, how competitive would ‘alternative energy’ be?
Perhaps this would cost jobs, but there are solutions to that. Like mandatory training programs for the laid-off workers to enable them to find new, better jobs. (A small cost for the savings that will come and for the dangerous work we have asked them to do for us.)
The point is – There are alternatives to coal power. There are alternatives to fights over limited water supplies in growing areas. There are alternatives to dirty, low wage jobs. There are alternatives to hidden costs that fool us into thinking something is cheaper when it isn’t.
There is no alternative to water.