FOR RELEASE: Monday, July 11, 2011, 11:00 AM CDT Contact: Eva Hernandez, Sierra Club, 512-299-1550, Dr. Jeff Haseltine, Abilenians Against Tenaska, 325-280-3669, or Whitney Root, Texans Against Tenaska 325-455-5652 In-Person Press Event 6:00 PM tonight oustide of VIP Community Center, 508 East Gould, Stamford, Texas
Stamford Must Not Sell its Water for
Proposed Tenaska Coal Plant
(Austin and Stamford, Texas) 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 needed in the state. ”
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
• 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."
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.