Archive for July, 2011

Parts of 32 states are under heat advisories, warnings or watches today as the deadly heat wave that has blasted the Midwest expanded eastward.

Actual temperatures in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York were expected to hit 100 degrees in the coming days with heat indexes — measured as a combination of temperature and humidity — reaching 110 degrees in those cities.

The Weather Service also issued a list of heat index highs topped by 4 Iowa towns: Knoxville, 131 degrees; Newton, 129; Atlantic, 126; and Council Bluffs, 126. Freeport, Ill., and Madison, Minn., followed at 124.

In Austin, where we have already had 35 days of triple digit temperatures and are expected to have more in the remaining months of summer, we have had a slight break with the highs dipping to 99 degrees as the dome of high pressure hovers north of us and expands eastward, but can expect to move back into our routine of 100 plus degree highs soon.

The heat wave has been blamed for at least 13 deaths since last week, the National Weather Service reported.

High temperatures were also responsible for an alarming spike in deaths of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the United States, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. It did not say, however, exactly how many had died due to weather, but they deployed search and rescue units in the south Texas brush country.

The heat also set new peak records for electricity usage.

Xcel Energy, which serves 1.64 million customers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota, broke a demand record on Monday with 9,504 megawatts of power used following the old record set in August 2010 of 9,100 megawatts.

In Nebraska, flood control work along the overflowing Missouri River was halted due to the heat, as officials worried that filling sandbags was too strenuous.

In Illinois, the second-largest corn and soybean producing state, the heat and humidity were not yet damaging crops, but a lack of rain is cause for concern.  Texas farmers and ranchers know all too well the impact a long period of heat and no rain can have on herds and crops.

Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States.

The National Weather Service statistical data shows that heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined.

Based on the 10-year average from 2000 to 2009, excessive heat claims an average of 162 lives a year. By contrast, hurricanes killed 117; floods 65; tornadoes, 62; and lightning, 48.

So everyone should learn the hazards of heat and the symptoms of heat related illnesses.  The following is from www.weather.gov


  • Symptoms: Redness and pain. In severe cases swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headaches.
  • First Aid: Ointments for mild cases if blisters appear and do not break. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by physician.

Heat Cramps

  • Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in muscles of legs and abdomen possible. Heavy sweating.
  • First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.

Heat Exhaustion

  • Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold, pale and clammy. Pulse thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting.
  • First Aid: Get victim out of sun. Lay down and loosen clothing. Apply cool, wet cloths. Fan or move victim to air conditioned room. Sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use. If vomiting continues, seek immediate medical attention.

Heat Stroke

  • Symptoms: High body temperature (106° F or higher). Hot dry skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible unconsciousness.
  • First Aid: Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency. Summon emergency medical assistance or get the victim to a hospital immediately. Delay can be fatal.

Safety Tips

  • Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated, or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
  • Dress for summer. Lightweight light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
  • Put less fuel on your inner fires. Foods that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
  • Drink plenty of water or other non-alcohol fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Persons who (1) have epilepsy or heart, kidney, or liver disease, (2) are on fluid restrictive diets or (3) have a problem with fluid retention should consult a physician before increasing their consumption of fluids. Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
  • Don’t get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.

So until the heat breaks, probably mid to late September for those of us in Central Texas, stay safe and hydrated.

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Although flood concerns at Nebraska’s two nuclear power plants have subsided for the time being, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced short and long term plans that will examine and possibly affect flood safety at both reactors.  The NRC is schedule to be in Omaha starting July 27th examining flood control at the Fort Calhoun Station.

Fort Calhoun Nuclear Plant during the height of the flood after a 2000 foot long water filled barrier berm failed

In the meantime, the NRC issued a memo yesterday announcing that the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant will be receiving additional oversight from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because of problems associated with the reactor protection system at the plant that was uncovered during a scheduled test on June 14, 2010.  At that time, one of four electrical contacts failed in a system used to “trip” or automatically shut down the reactor. The condition appears to have existed for 63 days before it was discovered.  This means the condition was in place before flooding was a concern at the plant,  Fort Calhoun has been shut down since April 7th for a refueling outage, and remained shutdown after June 6 when concerns about flooding along the Missouri River began.  The emergency status abated with the river cresting June 23rd .

While the NRC says the failure did not pose a danger to public health or safety, because other means existed to perform that safety function if necessary and the operator of the plant has replaced the defective electrical component, it does appear that had the plant been operating when the flooding occurred, emergency shutdown might have been compromised.

The NRC preliminarily determined that the violation was “yellow,” meaning it has substantial safety significance (NRC evaluates performance at nuclear power plants with a color coded process which classifies regulatory findings as either green, white, yellow or red, in order of increasing safety significance) and has since downgraded it to white.

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Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman, appointed to his new post exactly one week ago, received the Conservative Republicans of Texas’ (CRT) first endorsement of the 2012 political season on Friday.

Formerly the chairman of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), Smitherman was appointed last Friday to the Railroad Commission by Gov. Rick Perry to fill the vacancy left by Michael Williams, who is running for U.S. Congress.

Smitherman spent his last seven years at the PUC, is a former Harris County Assistant District Attorney and also worked in public finance for Bank One, JP Morgan and Lazard Freres.

The CRT praised Smitherman, among other things, as a “pro-life” candidate, even though the Railroad Commission regulates the Texas energy industry and has no public policy duties regarding reproductive health, including elective abortions.  They went on to tout him as a champion of the free market and a pro-family, pro-business conservative.

If this is indeed how it plays out, then it is business as usual at the Railroad Commission and fracking operations will flourish in Texas, regardless of the harm it does to adjacent communities.

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Had a nuclear power plant meltdown in your neighborhood and need to check radiation levels?  Well, there’s an iphone app for that.

Crazy as it may sound, Safecast, a global project created after the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in Japan, has been building a radiation sensor network comprised of static and mobile sensors actively being deployed around Japan.  To facilitate deployment of small handheld devices, and Japan being Japan, the project also developed iGeigie – a portable Geiger Counter with an iPhone dock.

Don’t know how you would get one (and wouldn’t it make the perfect gift for the person who has everything), but you have to admire the technology advancements that could give us such a device in a few short months.

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NRC Japan Task Force Report CoverThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Japan Task Force has proposed improvements in areas ranging from loss of power to earthquakes, flooding, spent fuel pools, venting and preparedness, and said a “patchwork of regulatory requirements” developed “piece-by-piece over the decades” should be replaced with a “logical, systematic and coherent regulatory framework” to further bolster reactor safety in the United States.

The report has been given to the five members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who are responsible for making decisions regarding the Task Force’s recommendations.

While declaring that “a sequence of events like the Fukushima accident is unlikely to occur in the United States” and that plants can be operated safely, the Task Force also recognized that “an accident involving core damage and uncontrolled release of radioactivity to the environment, even one without significant health consequences, is inherently unacceptable and proposed a comprehensive set of 12 recommendations to increase safety and redefine what level of protection of public health is regarded as adequate. It also recommended additional study of some issues.

The recommendations looked at ensuring protection, enhancing accident mitigation, strengthening emergency preparedness and improving the efficiency of NRC programs.

The report noted that the current NRC approach to regulation includes requirements for protection and responses for events that the facilities were originally designed to stand up to, such as earthquakes of the largest magnitude, or the highest flood level, or the strongest hurricane that had been experienced in the area at the time the permit was approved.  These are referred to as “design-basis” events.  There are also modest requirements for some “beyond-design-basis” events as well as voluntary initiatives by individual plant operators to address severe accident issues that are part of the NRC’s current framework for protection against what happened at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or Fukushima.  But as noted by the task force, the current approach is piecemeal.

The report recommends a more coherent regulatory framework that balances defense-in-depth (layered security mechanisms that increase security of the system as a whole) and risk considerations that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Requiring plants to reevaluate and upgrade as necessary their seismic and flooding protections and reconfirm every 10 years;
  • Strengthening Station Black Out (SBO) systems so that plants could cope with offsite or onsite power outages for a minimum of 8 hours; establishing equipment, procedures and training to keep the core and spent fuel pool cool at least 72 hours; and developing plans for offsite resources to be delivered to the site to support uninterrupted core and pool cooling;
  • Requiring that emergency plans address prolonged station blackouts and events involving multiple reactors;
  • Requiring additional instrumentation and seismically protected systems to provide additional cooling water to spent fuel pools if necessary;
  • Reviewing vent designs and identifying, as part of the longer term review, insights about hydrogen control and mitigation inside containment or in other buildings.

We now wait to see if and how the NRC will incorporate these recommendations into their licensing and regulatory authority over the U.S.’s nuclear fleet.  It is doubtful that this will slow the rush to relicense that is occurring around the country as plants near the end of their planned life.

Click here to read the full 79-page report.

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At LCRA’s Board of Directors meeting on June 15, 2011, they discussed a contract to sell up to 25,400 acre-feet of water a year to White Stallion Energy Center for a power plant in Matagorda County.  The LCRA Boardroom was filled with citizens against the contract, and the board heard public comments with 30 signing up to speak, only 2 of whom spoke for the contract.  Matagorda County Judge, Nate McDonald, asked the LCRA board to table the item and take more time to determine the impact a water contract of this size would have on the area.  Board members then voted to defer a decision on the contract until its meeting scheduled for August 10.

Because of the size of the request, LCRA staff has developed a proposal that will address the water supply of the entire lower Colorado River basin.  Read the proposed draft water contract and fact sheet.

A meeting has been scheduled in Bay City, on July 28th, we have no additional details about that meeting at this point.

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“In 2007, little seemed problematic about the energy-efficient light bulb or the law signed by President George W. Bush, which called for the incandescent bulb to be phased out in favor its energy-saving counterpart. But that was before the rise of the Tea Party”.

So begins an article by Natasha Lennard in Salon

Why is the Tea Party suddenly obsessed with light bulbs?

by Natasha Lennard of Salon

In 2007, little seemed problematic about the energy-efficient light bulb or the law signed by President George W. Bush, which called for the incandescent bulb to be phased out in favor its energy-saving counterpart. But that was before the rise of the Tea Party.

Suddenly, saving the old-fashioned 100-watt bulb — which wastes most of the energy it consumes and costs households more in energy bills than the new model — has become a matter of personal liberty. And so, House Republicans on Monday will seek to repeal the 2007  law, which calls for the phaseout to begin in January 2012.

The law has been dubbed “the light bulb ban” by activists on the right and has struck a Tea Party nerve. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann have all called it government intrusion par excellence. It essentially mandates that no new bulbs can go on the market after January ’12 without meeting a new, higher standard of energy efficiency. Bulbs that don’t meet the standard but that are already in stores won’t be taken off shelves.

“It is one of those issues out there that just inflames people,” Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, co-sponsor of the bill that would reverse the phaseout, told Politico. “What in the world were you doing restricting the kinds of light bulbs in my home?”

Of course, you could also craft an argument that the law is fiscally conservative.  According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “Analysis shows the standards [of the 2007 light bulb law] would save the country more than $12.5 billion annually when fully implemented in 2020.”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu showed little sympathy for libertarian stalwarts, when in a press conference on the issue he bluntly said, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

And in an opinion piece for The Hill, Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., put the bulb debate in much needed context: “We’ve got big fights ahead, with real disagreements that will require us to find some common ground — like how to get our financial house in order, how to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, and how to reform our education system. If Republicans and Democrats can’t come together on more efficient light bulbs, I have little hope of us tackling the bigger issues.”

And, of course, Texas was right in there leading the charge.  On June 17th, Governor Perry signed into law HB 2510 (Relating to exempting the intrastate manufacture of certain incandescent light bulbs from federal regulation).  Check out our earlier blog about why this legislation is such a futile fist-shaking at the federal government and really, not in the best interest of consumers.  And check out this article in the LA Times, poking fun at Texas for their new battle cry “Remember the Incandescent Bulb”.
The article concludes with musings by one of our own  – “And for all the hoopla over the Texas law, there is virtually no chance in the near future that residents of Lone Star State will be able to buy a state-made incandescent,” said David Power, deputy director of the Public Citizen office in Texas.

We don’t mine tungsten in Texas,” Power said. “So there is no place where they can get a Texas-made filament” for bulbs.

Way to make a statement Texas!

And if that wasn’t enough . . .

Texas’ Congressman Joe Barton took this fight to Capital Hill.  The measure was defeated, but not before it became the delight of comedian’s across the country.

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart slammed House Republicans relitigating a fight over incandescent light bulbs while the country was on the brink of default.

“I just want to make this clear,” Stewart said. “They aren’t fighting about light bulb standards. They are re-fighting a light bulb standards fight that we settled in 2007. We’re three weeks away from having to park our country down the street so China can’t find it and these yutzes are relitigating incandescent v. florescent.”

Watch this video from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, broadcast July 12, 2011.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

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Exelon’s  Dresden Nuclear Power Plant located in Morris, Ill., roughly 60 miles southwest of Chicago declared an alert at 10:16 a.m. CT today after a chemical leak restricted access to a vital area that houses plant cooling water pumps.  The leaking chemical is sodium hypochlorite, which is similar to bleach, and is routinely used in plant operations to treat water.

NRC says there is currently no impact to the public health and safety and the environment.

The leak has been stopped and clean up by plant workers is underway.  The utility reported about 330 gallons of the chemical leaked and two plant workers who were working in the area were taken offsite for treatment due to possible inhalation of the chemical fumes

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Yesterday, Public Citizen spoke before the Department of Energy subcommittee tasked with natural gas drilling and outlined the key steps needed to properly oversee the process of fracking. We are calling on the subcommittee to recommend closure of many loopholes that create regulatory exemptions for fracking.

Please join us in urging the DOE to regulate this risky process by signing on to our public comments.

Click here to read our earlier post about environmental advocacy around “fracking” at the national level

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Here’s some great news! With EPA tightening the standards for coal plant emissions, Energy Future Holdings, the parent company of Luminant (formerly TXU) and the major electric power provider for much of North and West Texas, is considering how to respond to new federal clean-air regulations.  Yesterday they announced they will mothball 3 coal plants in Northeast Texas.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it was looking at all options including other shutdowns or slowdowns, as well as seasonal or temporary shutdowns, and the option of installing scrubbers to remove sulfur dioxide from plant emissions, or even switching fuels to fire the furnaces that generate the steam used to generate electric power.

This will significantly improve air quality and the health of people that live near the plants and downwind.  The company is concerned about the expense of controls that would be needed for these old and dirty plants.

CPS Energy in San Antonio is already planning to mothball and then retire Deely 1 & 2 coal plants for the same reasons.

Blue skies smiling at me,
Nothing but blue skies do I see

Ozone days, all of them gone
Nothing but blue skies from now on

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Texas Green Network Networking Event at Austin Energy

A Panel Discussion on Zero Waste and How to Get There

Thursday, July 21st 5:30pm-8:30pm

Sponsored by Texas Green Network
Hosted by: Austin Energy

721 Barton Springs, Austin, TX 78704

Please R.S.V.P. to [email protected]

Austin Energy hosts Texas Green Network’s July event in Austin with a panel discussion on Zero Waste, how you can achieve Zero Waste and how the City can get there with your help!  The panel will consist of:

Melanie McAfee
•Owner at Barr Mansion
•Member at City of Austin Sustainable Food Policy Board

Brandi Clark Burton
Founder & Chief Inspiration Officer at Austin EcoNetwork
•Steering Committee at Austin Climate Protection Plan – Community Outreach

Stacy Guidry
Austin Program Director at Texas Campaign for the Environment
•Board Member, Central Texas Zero Waste Alliance

Gerry Acuna
•Chair at City of Austin Solid Waste Commission
•Boardmember at State of Texas Capitol Area Council of Governments
•Board Member at USGBC Central Texas
•President at Tri Recycling Inc.

Join Texas Green Network (TGN)  for the panel discussion,  a “TGN Open Mike” and snacks and beverages, including teas provided by Zhi Tea.

TGN is an ongoing active connecting point for green business leaders in Central Texas.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that all `flexible permit’ companies in Texas have agreed to apply for approved air permits, helping to achieve clean air in the state and providing for regulatory certainty.

Under the Texas flexible permit rule, certain industries were allowed an exemption from having to disclose pollution for each individual smokestack at a facility which enabled them to aggregate all emissions from the plant together in spite of the fact that the EPA under President George W. Bush had warned the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the processes did not meet federal standards and should be reformed.

The Clean Air Act ensures that businesses across the country operate efficiently and cleanly to safeguard public health from harmful levels of air pollution.  Under the act, the EPA had authorized the TCEQ as the Clean Air Act permitting authority in Texas.   TCEQ operates the largest air permitting program for major and minor sources in the U.S.  with over 1500 major air permit holders in Texas.  Less than 150 companies had applied for and received non-EPA-approved flexible permits from the TCEQ creating uncertainty about their compliance status with the Clean Air Act.   Starting in 2007, EPA wrote to all flexible permit holders telling them of their need to ensure compliance with federal requirements.

On May 25, 2010, the EPA barred the TCEQ from issuing a permit to a refinery in Corpus Christi. EPA said that the process used to justify that permit violated the Clean Air Act.  EPA’s Region 6 Administrator, Al Armendariz, also stated that the EPA would block future permits and force polluters to comply with EPA standards if the TCEQ did not change its rules.  TCEQ and Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, filed lawsuits against the EPA defending Texas’ flexible permit program.  In September 2010,  EPA notified all of the 136 `flexible permit’ companies that they needed to seek Clean Air Act compliant permits from the state.

This move by industry to come into compliance with federal standards flies in the face of Texas’ position that the state’s flexible permitting rules met those standards and probably doesn’t help their lawsuit much either.

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

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The Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission will meet Saturday, August 20, 2011, at 10:30 AM in the James Roberts Center, 855 Hwy 176 East, Andrews, TX 79714.  Don’t know yet what they will have on their agenda, but they say it will be posted in the Texas Register and on the Commission website when available.

Click here to read more about legislation that passed this session, opening the state wide to accept radioactive waste from around the country and giving Waste Control Specialists, the operator of the Texas waste site, carte blanche for much of the regulation of this site.

Have Questions?  Contact the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission

Telephone: 512-820-2930
Mailing Address:
3616 Far West Blvd., Ste. 117, # 294
Austin, Texas  78731
NOTE:  This is a mailing address only and not the physical location of the Commission.

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Data on Dangerous TXU-Luminant Pollution Underscores Need for Strengthened Environmental Safeguards

The Sierra Club released new reports indicating that three large, North East Texas coal-fired power plants owned by Luminant, formerly TXU, are single-handedly causing violations of federal air quality standards.  The three East Texas coal plants addressed in the reports — Big Brown, located in Freestone County, Monticello, located in Titus County, and Martin Lake, located in Rusk County, have a history of environmental problems.  The new reports indicate that sulfur dioxide emissions from the troubled coal plants are causing air pollution in nearby areas that exceeds the federal air quality standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The reports come a week after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that requires coal-fired power plants in 28 states, including Texas, to cut dangerous SO2 emissions.

“TXU-Luminant’s coal plants have been a problem for public health and the environment for a long time now.  Big Brown, Monticello, and Martin Lake top the list of the nation’s worst polluters,” said Neil Carman, Sierra Club’s Clean Air Program Director.  “These reports reveal that the TXU-Luminant coal plants’ emissions of dangerous SO2 pollution are more than double the allowable amount of that pollutant.  

The new EPA safeguard is designed to protect public health by setting a maximum amount of SO2 considered to be safe for Americans to breathe. The reports by Khanh T. Tran of AMI Environmental, show that the three coal plants are each modeled to emit SO2 pollution at levels that are predicted to far exceed the federal standard – even without taking into account other background sources.

SO2 is linked to asthma, other respiratory illnesses, and heart disease.  SO2  is especially harmful to those with existing conditions, such as asthma, and is associated with increased emergency room visits, according to the EPA.

In 2010, TXU-Luminant’s three coal plants emitted the following tonnage of SO2 into the air:

Martin Lake                ~76,000 tons of SO2
Big Brown                    ~63,000 tons of SO2
Monticello                   ~58,000 tons of SO2

TOTAL in 2010      ~ 197,000 tons of SO2

Ilan Levin, attorney with Environmental Integrity Project, said “Despite lots of promises, TXU-Luminant continues to be the poster child for dirty coal-fired power plants.  The levels of dangerous contaminants being put into the air and water from just these three coal plants is staggering.”   

Highlights From the Reports:

  • Big Brown, Monticello, and Martin Lake are the top three emitters of sulfur dioxide emissions in Texas
  • Martin Lake coal plant was modeled to exceed safe limits by over 189%, and the area of exceedances is up to 10 miles away from the coal plant.
  • The report’s modeling shows that each coal plant is causing exceedances of sulfur dioxide air quality standards independently, without taking into account other sources of SO2 pollution.


“A series of additional EPA environmental safeguards  are pending that will require  coal plants to install a series of retrofits to meet toughening clean air and water  standards. We estimate these retrofits  could cost  as much as $3.6 billlion for all three of the plants,” said Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith of Public Citizen’s Texas Office.  “TXU-Luminant should consider retiring these aging coal plants and replacing them with cleaner energy options such as energy efficiency and renewable energy including geothermal, wind, and solar power. TXU-Luminant has already made some clean energy steps, however they could create many more jobs by transitioning away from dirty coal toward clean energy.”

An earlier report released in March 2011 by the Sierra Club, The Case to Retire Big Brown, Monticello and Martin Lake Coal Plants details financial issues at the North East Texas TXU-Luminant coal plants which are the subject of today’s air modeling reports.  The financial report’s author Tom Sanzillo found, “The bottom line investment decision: should $3.6 billion, and possibly more be invested into plants that are nearing the end of their useful life (usually fifty years) in a regional economy that is not conducive to coal plants. Throughout the United States coal plants are being retired because the market in mid and late stage plants are no longer profitable.”

Neil Carman, Clean Air Program Director with the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter summed it up this way, “TXU-Luminant should begin phasing out and retiring the dirtiest coal plants – these plants are public health hazards and that is not acceptable — nor financially viable.  TXU-Luminant would do much better to strongly transition to clean energy.”

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Last week,  Governor Rick Perry issued a proclamation certifying that certain counties in Texas are currently threatened by exceptional drought conditions and an extreme fire hazard due to a continuing disaster in several counties in Texas, including Jones and Haskell Counties, which the small town of Stamford straddles.

Water Restrictions in Texas at the beginning of July

Located 40 miles north of Abilene with a population just over 3,000, Stamford’s city council voted today to sell water to the proposed Tenaska coal-fired plant. It is expected that Stamford would provide about 780,000 gallons (or roughly three-quarters of the minimum amount of water needed by the plant) daily from Lake Stamford, a reservoir formed by Stamford Dam with a storage capacity of 51,573 acre·ft.  The average depth of Lake Stamford is only 11 feet. The 2011 Brazos G Water Plan (Vol. 1, p. 4A-7) projects Stamford will have a deficit of nearly 3,000 acre-feet a year by 2030 without the Tenaska contract.

There was no public hearing before the City Council voted, and there were some people present who disagreed with the decision.

Last night, Tenaska hosted an open house.  Over a hundred people showed up, the majority of whom were opposed to the water contract, and while some members of the city council and the mayor were present, they still chose to approve the water contract.


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