Coast Commission recommends denial of Huntington Beach desalination plant
A California Coastal Commission staff report released Monday urged the CCC panel to vote against approving the Poseidon Water desalination plant in Huntington Beach, potentially depriving Southern California of a major future source. fresh water.
The Poseidon Water project, which would convert seawater into drinking water, was first proposed in the early 2000s and has been the subject of seven lawsuits and dozens of local efforts to stop the plant since 2005. Major changes were made in the following years, including significant ones recommended by the CCC in 2013. Following the opening of a Carlsbad desalination plant in 2015, the project entered the stages finals, with the factory’s approval swinging between approval and non-approval by various courts in the late 2010s. Finally, in 2021, the California Third District Court of Appeals ruled that the factory desalination could be built. However, a few final hurdles remained, including the crucial CCC vote. Originally scheduled for March, the meeting was pushed back two months earlier this year.
Prior to the vote, CCC staff drafted a report that was eventually released on Monday. Siding with environmentalists against the plant, the CCC staff report said the plant raised too many environmental issues, as well as environmental policies and potential natural disasters led them to recommend not approving the plant. ‘plant.
“This project raises important and complex coastal protection policy issues, including compliance with policies that require the protection of marine life, water quality, environmentally sensitive habitat areas, and policies to avoid or to minimize the risks associated with sea level rise, flooding, tsunamis and geological hazards,” staff reported Monday.
Although staff recommendations do not necessarily mean the CCC will vote against the plant at the May 12 meeting, the CCC panel rarely goes against staff recommendations, which means the panel will likely vote for not factory approved.
Praise, Opposition to CCC Panel Recommendations
Environmentalists and opponents of the plant hailed the decision on Monday.
“It is time for Poseidon Water to recognize the deep and irrevocable flaws of this project, cut its losses and publicly acknowledge this project and this site are not good for Huntington Beach or California – it is time to shut it down for good” , said the executive director. from the California Coastal Protection Network Susan Jordan on Monday.
Meanwhile, Poseidon Energy, which has spent $100 million to date setting up the Huntington Beach plant over the past 2 decades, said: “No water infrastructure project in the State of California has never been the subject of such a level of study and examination. If this recommendation is maintained, it will effectively be the death knell for desalination in California. »
Many utility and water experts also decried the CCC’s recommendation on Monday.
“California needs fresh water, that’s for sure,” water control specialist Alonzo Taylor-Morgan told The Globe on Monday. “It’s a very viable idea that has proven itself as we’ve seen in Carlsbad and elsewhere. But it’s pretty clear that the Huntington Beach plant’s environmental problems, which do exist, aren’t as bad as they claim. They forgot to say what 50 million gallons of fresh water a day would do for SoCal. It wouldn’t solve the water crisis, but it would be a big hit.
“They go with their heart on this one rather than facts and logic, and it’s distressing. There are a few environmental issues, but the bigger issue is what the drought can do to Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego. They ignore the human factor, and that is very worrying.
The CCC panel’s vote on whether to approve the Huntington Beach plant will take place on May 12.