Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Highland Lake Water

LCRA vote on White Stallion coal plant permit pushed to August

Bay City's South Texas Nuclear Generating Station may soon have to compete for
Bay City's South Texas Nuclear Generating Station may soon have to compete for "most diabolical landmark" status if White Stallion gets its way (Photo courtesy of South Texas Nuclear Generating Station)

As if the construction of a coal power plant by an energy corporation named White Stallion weren't ironic enough, the company behind the project is asking the Lower Colorado River Authority for an enormous water usage permit during the worst drought in 50 years. However, the LCRA board voted this morning to delay a decision until early August.

A permit from the LCRA is one of the final pieces that White Stallion Energy Center LLC would need to begin building its coal-burning plant outside of Bay City, some 80 miles southwest of Houston. Such permits are particularly useful in courting investors and future funding to bring these types of projects into existence.

The whole issue trickles its way back to Travis County as the LCRA is the authority over all water supplies in Central Texas, holding control of our two local variable-level lakes, Travis and Buchanan (the other four lakes are kept at fixed levels, and therefore aren't affected by increased usage).

Environmentalists hope this may turn the tide on this projected multi-billion dollar undertaking. The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club has issued a report in anticipation of the vote that contends White Stallion's water requests to be beyond current supplies available at Travis and Buchanan. As such, the report explains, water would need to be diverted both from agricultural uses and the flow used to recharge coastal estuaries important to fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. The report also notes that the Highland Lakes currently sit at low levels as they weather the historically dry conditions which this spring and summer have prolonged.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Environment, Water, LCRA, Coal Power Plants, Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, White Stallion Energy Center, Bay City, South Texas Nuclear Generating Station

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