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Groundwater contract for White Stallion tabled

By adriana_acosta
Oct. 7, 2011 at 5:07 a.m.
Updated Oct. 8, 2011 at 5:08 a.m.


APPLICATION MORATORIUM

The Coastal Plains Groundwater Conservation District board on Friday also adopted a temporary moratorium on any new applicants requesting groundwater drilling permits until the board receives actual numbers on water availability from the Texas Water Development Board.

Drilling for domestic and livestock use will not be affected, nor will Milberger's application.

BAY CITY - A groundwater conservation district board wants to examine an application to sell groundwater to White Stallion power plant before making a decision.

The Coastal Plains Groundwater Conservation District board voted Friday to table the application submitted by Arthur J. Milberger to produce and sell 1,199 acre-feet of water to the proposed coal fired power plant.

White Stallion plans to build a new energy plant in Matagorda County. On Thursday, the company announced plans to use a dry cool system, which will need less water than previous plans.

Clive Runnells III, a Matagorda County landowner, and Blackburn Carter, a law firm representing the No Coal Coalition, said approving the permit would adversely affect landowners surrounding Milberger's property.

Both claimed the application failed to identify the proposed location where the water well will be; fails to include a well closure plan or a declaration that the applicant will comply with the well plugging and capping guidelines; and does not provide a hydrogeologic report.

Milberger said his attorney and those contesting the permit will get together to agree on an examiner and then discuss if they have a right to have a contested hearing.

"If after the meeting they agree a contested hearing is needed, they will hold a hearing and make a recommendation to the groundwater district board, who will make the final decision," he said.

Milberger said he hopes the application is approved.

"My one water well is going to help create a $3 billion energy plant and will help supply energy to 650,000 homes in South Texas," he said.

Randy Bird, chief operating officer for White Stallion Energy, said Friday's decision will not delay the project.

"Since we decided to go with dry cooling, the acquisition of water is not the critical path any longer," he said.

The energy plant only needs 3,000 acre feet of water and there are other opportunities to obtain water, he said.

Bird hopes the board will make a decision at its November board meeting.

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