Tag Archives: LCRA

Treading Water

The White Stallion Coal Plant is a project that — if allowed to be built would cost 2.5 billion dollars. More than that, it would be a gamble- betting our water future in the lower Colorado River basin against one of the worst droughts this state has ever recorded.

Public Opposition is Growing in Places like Matagorda County

With the drought reaching the worst in history for the Colorado River Basin, lake levels have fallen and not been restored to normal levels. According to the LCRA website itself, “water flowing into the [Colorado River basin] was 1 percent of average in June, and some tributaries are drying up.”

The plant is scheduled for completion in Matagorda County in 2015. However, the plant would require a water permit among others to begin construction.  The plant executives have come to the LCRA for a 40-year water purchase contract. The contract, if passed, would sell 25,400 acre-feet of water per year- that’s the equivalent of about 15 percent of the usage of the entire city of Austin in 2009!

The LCRA will be voting to grant or deny a water permit for the coal plant on August 10th. In preparation for their vote, the LCRA will be having a meeting on July 28th at the Bay City Civic Center in Matagorda County. Bay City, only one mile south of the proposed coal-powered energy center, is in the position to be struck by new air and water pollution as well as sickness from known coal-plant byproducts such as arsenic, mercury, and particulate matter.

The Colorado River

We urge anyone in the area to come out to the LCRA meeting that starts at 6:30pm! In conjunction with the meeting will be a display of posters with beautiful photographs of Texas and the wildlife we want to protect. The display, Protecting What We Love: Our Health. Our Air. Our Water. Can be seen from 5-8pm and refreshments will be served. Please come and enjoy this stunning artwork and bring any questions you may have about the coal plant!

Click on the following links to read the proposed draft water contract, fact sheet, and press release.

For more information:

-Lena Lane

Second best! LCRA delay on Coal Plant Water

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and numerous Texas water users applauded LCRA’s decision yesterday to delay a decision on a proposed White Stallion coal plant water contract.

Matagorda Co. Judge McDonald opposes water for coal

The Board room was full and public comment began with elected officials from Matagorda County in the south, Travis County in the middle and Burnet County in the north of the Colorado River basin, all opposing the coal plant water and all citing drought concerns.

Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal organizer

Lydia Avila spoke for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. She welcomed this decision,

Even though they haven’t denied it yet, we’re glad they’re taking their time to look into the serious implications of this coal plant request. We’re confident that when they look at the facts that this is a bad deal for Texans, they will reject it.

The Board suggested a 30-45 day period before they would consider it again.

Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen and Coal Block organizer

Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen and Coal Block spoke at the meeting.  Afterwards he said,

The proposed White Stallion coal plant is not a beneficial or responsible use of water.  LCRA can and should deny this water request.  We should invest in cleaner renewable energy so that we assure water for our future.

Sierra Club recognizes and appreciates the over 2,000 people who sent comments to LCRA recommending LCRA reject water for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.  We ask if you will stay tuned and prepare to comment and show up again, if and when LCRA reconsiders the proposed White Stallion water request.  Contact Lydia Avila, 512-477-1729 to get more involved.  Thank you!

~ Donna Hoffman

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Ask the LCRA to say NO to Water for a Dirty Coal Plant!

Tomorrow, Wednesday June 15th, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Board of Directors will be voting on a water contract for the proposed White Stallion coal-fired power plant.  If this water contract is approved White Stallion would get 22 million gallons of water every single day, which adds up to over 8 billion gallons of water a year! Texas is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts it has ever seen and water is becoming a more valuable resource everyday. If White Stallion is given this water contract they will have priority over many other costumers including species who rely on this water for their existence, and farmers and small businesses who need this water to make a living.  Bottom line is that there is simply not enough water to support current needs and a new unnecessary coal plant.  Read more about the water availability here.

The LCRA Board has received over 2,200 letters and emails opposing the White Stallion project. This public opposition of White Stallion has been able to help slow down the project. The LCRA Board will be voting on the water contract at their monthly meeting taking place tomorrow, Wednesday June 15th at 9am.

WHAT: LCRA Board Meeting

WHY: Oppose LCRA granting White Stallion a water contract for over 8 billion gallons of water a year!

WHEN: Tomorrow, Wednesday June 15th, 9:00 am

WHERE: 3700 Lake Austin Blvd., Austin TX

A large public showing at the LCRA Board meeting will show the board Texans care about our water and how it’s managed!  I look forward to seeing you at the meeting, and if you can’t make it there’s more you can do to help:

Here’s what you can do!

  1. Come to the LCRA Board meeting tomorrow!
  1. Contact the LCRA Board by calling them at 512-473-3244.
  1. You can also email the board using our action page.
  1. Get the word out to your friends by reposting this very blog on your Twitter or Facebook pages!
  1. Retweet @LCRATweets letting them know you don’t support this water contract:  @LCRATweets. Please DON’T grant White Stallion a water contract #NoWhiteStallion
  1. Follow the Sierra Club’s live Twitter session during the board meeting. (#NoWhiteStallion)
Sean Wicks, Sierra Club Beyond Coal Intern.

Don’t Lead this Horse to Water

The Sierra Club today released a report, Proposed White Stallion Coal-Fired Power Plant Water Demands and the Highland Lakes Water Supply”.  Along with Matagorda County rancher-land stewards, Sierra Club asked the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to deny a water contract for the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

The report by Dr. Lauren Ross of Glenrose Engineering provides information in advance of an expected agenda item on the proposed water contract at the Wednesday, June 15 LCRA Board of Directors Meeting set in Austin.  The report finds that there is not enough water available for the White Stallion request:

Combined Firm Yield Water from Lakes Buchanan & Travis   535,812 acre feet per year
Firm Water Commitments -514,028 acre feet per year
Uncommitted Water  21,784 acre feet per year
   

White Stallion Request 25,000 > Uncommitted 21,784 acre feet per year

DROUGHT The potential LCRA contract would commit this supply to be available for the proposed White Stallion during the most severe historical drought of record and it would compromise so called ‘interruptible’ agricultural and environmental flows needs.

Dr. Lauren Ross, Glenrose Engineering

“LCRA is contemplating meeting White Stallion’s coal plant water demand by a combination of run of river water,  that is — water from rain and run-off during wet periods and reservoirs that don’t exist,” said Dr. Lauren Ross whose firm Glenrose Engineering produced the report.  “In the extreme drought that we are experiencing there is no excess run of river water and reservoirs are evaporating at greater than normal rates.  LCRA must concentrate on meeting currently committed water uses and the requested White Stallion contract should be denied.”

The report further finds that:

      • 11% of the water supplied for White Stallion from Lakes Buchanan and Travis would be lost to evaporation and leakage before it arrives at the pumping plant. If accepting this contract, LCRA would waste 3,000 acre-feet per year in evaporation and leakage.
      • Water supplied under the proposed contract would lower storage levels in Lakes Buchanan and Travis and would result in less water being provided for agricultural irrigation, instream flows, and Matagorda bay and estuary inflows.
      • A study of the effects of climate change on water availability in Texas released in March 2011, estimates significant changes in precipitation, evaporation, and runoff in Central Texas due to climate change. It predicts significant deficits in reservoir storage during drought conditions with climate change, compared to similar predictions without climate change. This information on the effects of climate change on rain, evaporation, and runoff should be considered before making any additional commitments for firm water supply.

Laurance Armour, General Manager of Pierce Ranch in Wharton County and member of LCRA’s Water Management Plan Advisory Committee.

 Laurance Armour, General Manager of Pierce Ranch in Wharton County and member of LCRA’s Water Management Plan Advisory Committee commented on the upcoming decision by LCRA about the water contract:

With this exceptional drought, there isn’t enough water right now for current stakeholders –  cities, farmers, the environment and all the businesses that currently depend upon Lakes Travis and Buchanan for their existence.  Additional sales of Colorado River water to unneeded industrial users such as the proposed White Stallion coal plant, would take river water away from people who currently depend upon that water for their livelihoods and drinking water.  If there’s no significant rain between now and January 2012, there will barely be enough water for the people in and around Austin and no water for the farmers in the lower basin.  We can’t waste water on unnecessary and polluting coal plants.

Susan Dancer, Texas Blessings Ranch owner pointed to the potential externalized costs to existing ‘interruptible’ water users of granting the proposed contract to White Stallion:

Do we really want the coal industry’s water rights to trump those of agriculture and the environment we depend upon?  During this drought, we are especially in need of water to irrigate our human and livestock food crops as well as our hay pastures.  We need enough freshwater inflow into Matagorda Bay and estuaries to provide the brackish water necessary for many of our fish and shellfish species to reproduce.   The LCRA Board must consider the externalized financial costs of such a facility as White Stallion.  Taking our water for an un-needed, coal-burning project is one of the ways that White Stallion would cripple the existing economy.  LCRA must refuse this unnecessary and dangerous move.

The proposed White Stallion coal plant faces other obstacles to being built in Matagorda County where the medical community, landowners, and numerous community leaders are strongly opposed to the project.  Though permitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), a state district judge recently remanded the permit back to TCEQ due to faulty information in the permit application.

Eva Hernandez, Regional Manager Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign

“Burning coal for electricity is obsolete – it causes too much pollution and uses too much water,” said Eva Hernandez with Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.  “Instead, we need to preserve our precious water resources for truly vital human needs, especially during this extreme drought that authorities don’t expect to change soon.  White Stallion is a bad idea all around and the LCRA should lead the way instead to creating Texas’ clean energy economy with more energy efficiency and renewable energy – wind and distributed solar power.”

The Sierra Club encourages concerned people to contact LCRA Board Members to ask them to deny a water contract and air permit for White Stallion coal plant.

Background Information:  See The Impact of Global Warming on Texas cited in the report, and another key water report – Energy-Water Nexus in Texas#  #  #

Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce Says NO to White Stallion

On December 8, 2010, the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution opposing the granting of a water contract to the White Stallion Energy Center from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA).

White Stallion, a proposed coal-fired power plant for Bay City, TX, applied for an LCRA water contract in 2009. The plant would need approximately 6.5 billion gallons of water per year to operate that it hopes to get from our very own Highland Lakes. Given that the members of the Chamber and other businesses in the area rely heavily on the presence of water in Lake Travis, it only made sense for the Chamber to oppose this wasteful use of a precious resource.

In 2009, Lake Travis’ water levels were the lowest they had been since 1963 and the 3rd lowest in the Lake’s history, which severely effected businesses on the Lake. Clearly, we cannot afford such a large burden on our limited water sources, especially for something that, if built, would emit 10 million tons of carbon dioxide, 4,955 tons of sulfur dioxide, 4,047 tons of nitrogen oxide, 1792 tons of particulate matter and 96 pounds of mercury per year.

We’re happy to see that the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce has realized that the White Stallion Energy Center will only be good for one business: White Stallion.  With it’s enormous amounts of pollution and immense intake of water, it will only adversely affect businesses all along the Colorado River, Houston, and, of course, Bay City.

The LCRA Board of Directors are expected to vote on this water contract in a few months.  Write or call them today and ask them to deny the contract for the sake of existing businesses and our future water security

To join the fight against White Stallion, sign up to volunteer! For more information on the effects of this water contract visit the “about” section of this webpage.

Posted by Lydia D. Avila, Conservation Organizer.

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