Posts Tagged ‘Matagorda County Texas’

August 10 LCRA Board meeting canceled after White Stallion water contract pulled from agenda

Discussion and possible action by the LCRA Board of Directors on a contract to provide water to a proposed new coal plant in Matagorda County has been postponed indefinitely. This decision comes after the company proposing the plant substantially changed the terms of the contract on Monday, Aug 1st which prompted the cancellation of the special-called Aug. 10 meeting of the LCRA Board.

The new proposal by White Stallion asks for more time to pay the $55 million ($250,000 a year instead of $55 million upfront) and significantly reduces the amount of water reservation fees White Stallion would have to initially pay. The new proposal included other changes, some unprecedented for an LCRA water contract.

We say, good for the LCRA Board and thank you Senator Fraser for stepping in and asking the LCRA to call a moritorium on water contracts in light of this exceptional drought that blankets three quarters of the state.

Finally, thank you to the 2,200 Texas citizens who sent in cards and letters to the LCRA opposing this contract.  You made a difference.

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According to a Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) press release, there will be a public meeting in Bay City on July 28th at 6:30 pm regarding the White Stallion water contract.

The Lower Colorado River Authority will hold a public information meeting in Bay City on Thursday, July 28, on a proposed water contract with White Stallion Energy Center. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Bay City Civic Center, 201 Seventh Street.

“LCRA recognizes how important this proposed water contract is to the public and we want to give everyone the opportunity to fully understand the proposed contract before the Board of Directors makes its final decision,” LCRA General Manager Becky Motal said.

The meeting will be structured to offer visitors multiple opportunities to ask LCRA staff about the proposed contract with White Stallion and related issues. The meeting will begin with a short video and presentation on the proposed contract. The public will then have an opportunity to visit with LCRA staff at stations set up for the following issues:

  • Water supply,
  • Proposed White Stallion contract,
  • Water quality and bay health, and
  • Lower basin reservoir.

During the meeting, visitors will be encouraged to submit written questions for a panel question and answer session. The panel will feature LCRA Water Operations Manager Kyle Jensen, LCRA Manager of Water Resources Management Karen Bondy and LCRA Water Supply Strategist James Kowis.

White Stallion has requested 25,400 acre-feet of water a year from LCRA for a power plant in Matagorda County. As a legislatively created regional water supplier, if LCRA has water available to meet a request for supply and an applicant complies with LCRA’s rules, LCRA must make that water available and cannot unreasonably discriminate. LCRA has the water available for White Stallion’s request, even in the current drought conditions.

Because of the size of the request, LCRA has developed a proposal designed to benefit the water supply system of the entire lower Colorado River basin. Under the terms of the proposed contract, White Stallion must pay LCRA $55 million within one year of the contract date. That money must be used for water supply enhancements. LCRA intends to use this payment for:

  • Pumping plant improvements at LCRA’s Bay City pumping plant;
  • A 5,000 acre-foot off-channel reservoir in the lower basin that can serve White Stallion and other customers; and
  • A study to determine the best configuration of water supply projects and enhancements and where they will be located. This could include options like lining canals to save water.

In addition to routine raw water use and reservation rates, White Stallion would also pay $250,000 per year from the date the plant is completed through the end of the contract. These additional funds would be used for future water supply projects. White Stallion also plans to have additional water storage on its plant site capable of storing a week’s worth of the plant’s water use.

Under these terms, once the new reservoir is constructed, LCRA should be able to supply White Stallion without impacting the Highland Lakes or water for agriculture. The new reservoir and future water projects made possible by this contract would also benefit other customers throughout the basin.

“The job of LCRA’s staff was to develop the best water contract it could, and we believe we accomplished that,” Motal said. “This proposed contract is intended to offset the impact of White Stallion to the Highland Lakes and the downstream farmers and also benefits the water supply system of the entire basin.”

A copy of the proposed contract is available at LCRA.org. The LCRA Board will consider the proposed contract August 10.

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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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The No Coal Coalition brings their mascot, Pancho the Donkey, to the TCEQ hearing, but he is turned away. Photo by Susan Dancer

On Thursday, the TCEQ (Texas Commission of Environmental Quality) held a public meeting for the White Stallion Energy Center at the Bay City Civic Center to hear feedback on the plant’s application for a wastewater permit. (more…)

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