BAY CITY, Texas — Ever since the days of Spindletop, when oil first spewed from the soil near Beaumont, Texans have embraced the energy industry. But the worst drought in decades is straining that cozy relationship and spurring protests against projects that once would have been seen as a boon to prosperity.
From Bay City on the Gulf Coast to the West Texas plains, energy companies are facing stiff opposition to proposed power plants that would serve the state's fast-growing population. Groups of ranchers, shrimpers, rice farmers and residents have banded together to oppose the plans.
"We have people that need water that don't have water," said Allison Sliva, who leads the group fighting a proposed coal-fired power plant in Bay City, a rural area about 80 miles south of Houston. "We can't continue to burn coal and have industrial plants that require huge amounts of water."
The groups are pressing government agencies not to approve permits for construction and in some cases are going to the courts. (Read more...)