AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Lower Colorado River Authority has canceled a vote on a deal to provide water to a proposed coal-fired power plant 90 miles southwest of Houston.
LCRA was to have voted on the contract with the White Stallion Energy Center project near Bay City on Aug. 10. But a statement issued by the authority Aug. 3 says the plant developers had changed the contract’s proposed terms.
According to LCRA, White Stallion’s initial proposal had been to pay the authority $55 million within a year of signing the contract. The authority intended to use that money on pumping plant improvements, an off-channel reservoir in the lower Colorado River basin and a study to find how future water supply enhancements would be best configured.
The initial proposal also would have required White Stallion to pay LCRA $250,000 a year on top of standard water use and reservation rates, which the authority would use on water supply improvements.
On Aug. 1, White Stallion officials proposed taking more time before making the $55 million payment and lowering the fees they would agree to pay.
"The requested changes delivered to us on (Aug. 1) would substantially change the earlier proposal," LCRA General manager Becky Motal said in the statement. "Staff cannot recommend these changes to the board."
White Stallion chief operating officer Randy Bird said he realized the proposed revisions Aug. 1 would delay a vote so LCRA board and staff members could study them.
However, he hoped negotiations can bring the matter back before the LCRA board later this month or next month and not severely delay the project timetable.
"It just depends on how long the negotiations take," he said.
Several conservation groups including the Central Texas Water Coalition based in the Highland Lakes are opposed to LCRA supplying water to the plant. Members say the drought has left the Colorado River basin without sufficient water to support such a project.