As Texas suffers severe drought, Public Citizen questions water contract for coal plant

Published 06/14 2011 06:37PM

Updated 10/03 2014 07:08AM

From Green Right Now Reports

Texans who oppose more coal plants for the state, as well as Lone Star residents concerned about winnowing water supplies during this and future droughts, may want to follow the action of the Lower Colorado River Authority. The LCRA is poised to award a large water contract to the White Stallion power plant on the Gulf Coast.

The LCRA is meeting Wednesday, June 15,  in Austin to consider the contract, and possibly vote on it. The meeting at LCRA headquarters, 3700 Lake Travis Blvd., Austin, is public, and citizens can comment if they sign up. (Click here to RSVP.)

Public Citizen Texas is urging concerned citizens to call, if they cannot attend, to leave a comment. (1-800-776-5272)

Environmentalists are worried because they see water being depleted that may be needed for human consumption.

The LCRA, though, argues that water is available for sale even in the current drought. That assessment is based on the fact that water was available even during the “worst case” scenario during the severe drought in the 1950s.

In what appears to be a preview of many battles over water to come, Texas Public Citizen has stepped in to complain that selling water to a coal plant that’s being vigorously opposed by nearby residents is premature. The citizens’ advocacy also argued in a blog and at a hearing today that power plants simply “suck too much water.”

In a blog, Public Citizens’ blogger “Citizen Carol” notes that the 2009 drought left the lower Colorado river basin “stricken” but that the recovery was not complete before Texas entered the current drought.

The LCRA’s plan to sell at least 8.3 billion gallons of water a year to the proposed White Stallion coal-fired power plant near the Gulf Coast does not mesh with a state besieged by recurring droughts and facing population growth.

“As I look out at the crisp brown vegetation baking in the easement outside my window, and the relentlessly hot air shimmering and dancing before me, I am concerned that there isn't enough water right now for current stakeholders — cities, farmers, the environment and all the businesses that currently depend upon Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan for their existence,”  Citizen Carol writes.

Green energy advocates often point out that wind power wins when it comes to finding energy alternatives that use less water. Solar, depending on the type of installation, also has a much lower water footprint.

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