Tag Archives: Matagorda Bay

Environmental Groups and Water Users call on LCRA at Meeting this Morning-Reject Coal Plant Water

Contact:  Lydia Avila, Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign, 626-506-9651
Ryan Rittenhouse, Public Citizen Texas, 440-796-9695

Sierra Club, Public Citizen, and No Coal Coalition call on LCRA Board to Reject  Coal Plant Water

Citizens Want Questions Answered saying Coal Plant Would use Too Much Water

(Austin)  The Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition and lower Colorado River Ranchers today urge members of the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to vote at their meeting this morning to deny a water contract requested by the proposed White Stallion coal plant.

“We have to face the facts- there simply isn’t enough water in the Colorado river to cool these old style power plants,” said Ryan Rittenhouse with Public Citizen.  “We’re facing the worst drought in 50 years and maybe in history and yet LCRA staff has their head in the sand and is recommending  approval of this contract when all indications show that there isn’t enough water to go around. We call upon the Board to exercise judgment and just say ‘No’ when the staff is taking a wrong turn.”

Members of Sierra Club, Public Citizen, the No Coal Coalition, other environmental groups and many residents from both the Highland Lakes and Matagorda and Wharton County ends of the LCRA’s managed water basin are attending the meeting at the LCRA headquarters in Austin this morning – some with signs outside.  Many came to make public comments at the microphone.

“Do we really want the coal industry to trump agricultural water needs and the environment that sustains life?” said Susan Dancer, wildlife rehabilitator and owner of Matagorda County Texas Blessings Ranch.  “During this drought, we are especially in need of water to irrigate our human and livestock food crops as well as our hay production.  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 hidden costs of such a facility as White Stallion.  Taking our water for an un-needed coal plant is one of the ways White Stallion would cripple the existing economy and damage agriculture and the environment.  We ask the LCRA board to manage our water wisely, refuse this contract today, or wait to consider the decision more carefully.”

The Sierra Club released a report this week, “Proposed White Stallion Coal-Fired Power Plant Water Demands and the Highland Lakes Water Supply”.

The report’s author Dr. Lauren Ross said, “According to the water management plan, there is not enough water available for the White Stallion request.  Committing water to this proposed coal plant would compromise agricultural and environmental flows during the most severe historical drought of record.”

At the LCRA’s Water Management Committee meeting last night, members of the LCRA board commented that they had only been updated yesterday morning, they hadn’t had time to finish reading a new proposed contract, and that they wanted the board to take the time to inform citizens on the details.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign organizer, Lydia Avila attended both the meeting last night and today’s Board meeting.

Avila said, “The Board must deny this permit today or at the very least, slow down and reconsider such a potentially damaging decision.  The evidence against this proposal is in and people, including the LCRA Board of Directors deserve to know more.  The proposed White Stallion coal plant would displace other water users at a time when extreme drought means we must carefully conserve water for the most important uses,” said Lydia Avila with Sierra Club.  “We don’t need new coal plants, including this one.  We already have enough electricity generation on the grid and we simply can’t afford to burn away our precious water in coal steam.  Texas is are already working on phasing out existing coal plants in favor of clean, water-wise renewable energy such as wind and solar power.  ”

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Donna Hoffman
Communications Coordinator
Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

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Today is an Historic Day for the Texas Environment

Today Sierra Club has launched the “Texas Green Report” blog, bringing you breaking news and regular updates about key regional, state, and national environmental issues. The Texas Green Report will update you about the activities of the Club here in Texas — not only environmental advocacy but also opportunities to interact with other folks interested in enjoying the great outdoors.

The Sierra Club covers a wide range of issues in Texas, through our state-level Lone Star Chapter, national field organizers, and campaigns such as Beyond Coal.  The Lone Star Chapter was formed in 1965 and has an ambitious conservation agenda for Texas for 2010-2011.  Here are just a few examples of what we’re doing now.

Beyond Coal

The Lone Star Chapter, in partnership with the national Beyond Coal Campaign, is contesting air pollution permits for five proposed coal or petroleum coke plants in Texas that would add tens of thousands of tons of pollutants into the air we breathe and dramatically increase the greenhouse gases from Texas sources. We’re also working on cleaning up and phasing out existing coal plants and achieving a strong new coal ash rule.

Clean Energy Solutions

The Lone Star Chapter, working cooperatively with our partners, is promoting the adoption of more energy efficient building codes by Texas cities, pushing clean energy plans for municipally-owned electric utilities in Austin and San Antonio, and working for a specific state target for expansion of solar power. At the same time we are ramping up efforts to achieve stronger environmental controls over oil and natural gas production.

Green Transportation

The Lone Star Chapter is supporting the efforts to identify and obtain revenue sources that would fund rail projects and other mass transit options that are more energy efficient and environmentally sound than our traditional reliance on personal vehicles.

Safeguarding Communities: Clean Air & Water

The Lone Star Chapter consistently watchdogs air pollution problems in Texas.  We won a landmark settlement in a Clean Air Act lawsuit against Shell Oil in 2009 over so-called “upset” emissions of toxics and other air pollutants from its Deer Park refinery and petrochemical plant. This year the Chapter is pursuing similar litigation against Chevron and Exxon/Mobil.  In addition the Chapter has been the main group successfully fighting TCEQ’s attempts to lower clean water standards for hundreds of water bodies around the state.

A Texas Land & Wildlife Legacy

The Lone Star Chapter is supporting legislation that will be introduced in the U.S. Congress to designate wilderness areas in the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in West Texas.  We are also continuing to crusade for strong funding of Texas state parks and nongame wildlife protection programs.

Water for People & the Environment

The Lone Star Chapter is a leader and active participant in the process underway to preserve freshwater inflows into Galveston Bay, Sabine Lake, Matagorda Bay, Nueces Bay, San Antonio Bay, and other estuary systems along the Texas coast.

In future posts you’ll hear more about these and other Sierra Club activities to explore, enjoy and protect the Texas environment, and you’ll learn more about the key environmental issues facing our state.

Welcome to the Texas Green Report!

Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club

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