Category Archives: Tenaska

Sweetwater City Commissioner’s Meeting

This morning (November 8th) the Sweetwater City Commissioners took public comments on a proposed water contract with the Tenaska Coal Power Plant. The plan by the city commissioners and Mayor Greg Wortham, would contract for Sweetwater’s municipal water at a rate far below what residents pay, according to local Lawyer Lance Hall.

Numerous citizens stood up to speak out against this  proposed plan to sell municipal waste water to the plant. This plan would exempt Tenaska from the city’s drought contingency plan, and provide the plant fresh water when waste-water does not meet amounts required in the contract. Since Tenaska requires up to two million gallons of water a day, it is simply unfair to provide the coal plant all the water, fresh or otherwise, they can use while across town residents taps run dry. The municipal reclaimed water could, under a drought scenario, be used for agricultural irrigation for Nolan county’s 50,000 acre’s of crop land.

Also in attendance were 20 Future Sweetwater teens, watching their future water supply get sold down the river to Tenaska. Shouldn’t the local government be protection judiciously the little water Sweetwater does have so that this future generation will have water resources too? We should be using our precious water resources responsibly not squandering them on inefficient coal power generation.

Citizens want to see Mayor Wortham and the City Commissioners protect Lake Sweetwater, and protect our municipal water for our future needs, not make back room agreements  to sell what little water we do have.

Still Wondering… What do we do When the Well Runs Dry?

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 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!

–Dean Speer

Tenaska Coal Plant Threatens to Dump 130 pounds of Mercury Every Year

Coal-fired power plants are one of the largest sources of pollution in our country. They emit thousands of pounds of toxic mercury pollution every year, but also arsenic, lead and acid gases.

Below is an excerpt from Joe Starkey’s article in the West Texas Tribune.  For the full article – click here.

How can you call CLEAN a plant that intends to dump 130 pounds of Mercury into our land per year? and tons of coal ash?

Please stop talking about the Tenaska Trailblazer plant as an economic boon to this region. Just looking at the mercury pollution from this plant shows how much it would cost us. A child living in the toxic footprint of a coal plant (yes Abilene and Sweetwater would be in the toxic footprint of the Trailblazer Plant) is 2% more likely to suffer from Autism. The cost per Autistic child to the community is estimated to be $3,200,000.00 over the lifetime of that child. Those figures are part of the findings in the first study to comprehensively survey and document the costs of autism to U.S. society. Michael Ganz , Assistant Professor of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health, authored the study.

An increase of only one autistic child would eat up 7 years of water income from this plant. Current figures from Region 14 show almost 200 children being treated for Autism. A 2% increase per year over the next 50 years (projected life of this plant) would mean Abilene paying for an additional 300 children with autisim who would not have in the normal course of events been affected. This would cost us approximately TEN BILLION dollars over the life of the plant.

– Joe Starkey is a photojournalist for the West Texas Tribune. His parents home have their south fence as Tenaska’s north fence. His 200 acres, where he learned to fish, hunt and care for cows, is about 3 miles north of Tenaska.

Texans deserve better.  Thankfully, the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to come out with new rules to regulate Mercury across the country.  Stay tuned.

–Eva Hernandez, Field Organizing Manger, Beyond Coal Campaign

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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