Tag Archives: water contract

LCRA rejects White Stallion coal plant water contract

Last week, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) announced that it had rejected a 40 year, multi-billion gallon a year water contract with the proposed White Stallion Energy Center.

When the LCRA was considering this water contract over the summer, folks from all over the Colorado River basin rose in opposition to this irresponsible use of water.  If approved, this contract would have allowed White Stallion to take approximately 22 million gallons of water from our river and lakes every single day!  With an extreme drought and no end in sight, community members of all backgrounds wanted to make sure that LCRA did not commit our limited and invaluable resource to a dirty coal plant for the next 40-55 years.

Sierra Club applauds LCRA’s decision to reject the proposed contract and we thank those of you who sent the LCRA board members thousands of emails, made phone calls, showed up at the July meeting to ask the board members not to sell our water to a coal plant.  This is your victory!

Read more about this here.

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

No Stamford Water for Proposed Tenaska Coal Plant

West Texas Doesn’t Have Enough Water to Sell to a Coal Plant

Hydrological Report Shows: Stamford Must Not Sell its Water for Proposed Tenaska Coal Plant

A water report released today by Sierra Club and citizens of the west Texas cities of Stamford, Sweetwater, and Abilene concludes that if a water contract is granted to the proposed Tenaska coal-fired power plant, it would severely diminish water supplies where current water demands are significantly unmet by the available supply.  The report by Glenrose Engineering, “Lack of Water Availability from City of Stamford for the Proposed Tenaska Coal-Fired Power Plant,” finds that operations of the proposed Tenaska coal plant, if contracted, would require a consistent water supply even during drought conditions and would cut deeply into the available water supply, displacing existing water users.

“The financial temptations are strong for communities who are suffering economically,” said Dr. Jeff Haseltine, a professor at Abilene Christian University.  “But while Tenaska can make it rain money, Tenaska can’t make it rain rain.” 

The past two years the proposed Tenaska coal plant has been negotiating behind closed doors with the City of Stamford for a water contract that could lock in water withdrawals from the City’s water supply, Lake Stamford, for up to 30 years.

“The bottom line is that we are facing one of the worst droughts on record in the state of Texas, and west Texas is seeing the worst of it,” said Eva Hernandez with the Sierra Club in Texas.  “There is no telling when it will rain and the drought will let up.  Giving water to an unnecessary coal plant would be irresponsible, especially when the energy from the coal plant is not even needed in the state.[1]

 According to the hydrological study released today:

  • Existing permits for Lake Stamford are already more than double the one-year safe reservoir yield.
  • The City of Stamford wastewater effluent volume is about one quarter of the proposed power plant demand.
  • Increasing lake withdrawals to meet power plant water demands could increase water treatment costs for existing City of Stamford potable water customers during critical drought conditions.
  • It would leave less water in the reservoir to meet existing unmet water demands in Haskell County for agricultural irrigation.

Eric Herm, West Texas farmer and author warns, “There is no substitute for water.  No alternative. Money and its false promise comes and goes without fulfilling our lives or nourishing our bodies. Without the coal plant, we still survive. Without water, we do not. We have to be extremely careful with our remaining water supply, particularly in our arid climate. Corporations like big coal companies could care less about the long-term effects of sucking dry our aquifers sooner than later. They’ll move on to the next town or area. For those of us who call West Texas home, it is our duty to protect our water supply from negligent use — no matter how much money they promise.” 

An earlier analysis of wastewater effluent, ground and surface water availability in Nolan County concluded that existing water demands in that county also could not be met with available water supplies and also recommends against selling Nolan County’s water to the proposed Tenaska coal plant.

Yes!  Its a footnote in a blog post.  [1] The state’s electricity grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) stated in its May 2011 Report on the Capacity, Demand, and Reserves in the ERCOT Region that the supply of energy is outpacing demand and concludes Texas has additional energy reserves – a 21% cushion when the requirement is 13%.

For more information, contact:  Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club, 512-299-1550, Dr. Jeff Haseltine, Abilenians Against Tenaska, 325-280-3669, Whitney Root, Texans Against Tenaska 325-455-5652

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.