By Carolina Valencia/Orange County Tribune
The controversial Poseidon desalination plant has been in the works for more than 20 years and one of the final steps in the process, a meeting regarding a coastal development permit, has been delayed till later this spring. The meeting was set for March 17 for the proposed facility, which will be located at 21730 Newland St., near the AES power plant in Huntington Beach.
“In order to accommodate the California Coastal Commission’s staff and their diligent review of our application, Poseidon Water made the decision to voluntarily delay the hearing on the Coastal Development Permit until later this spring,” said Poseidon Director of Communications Jessica Jones. “We’re proud of how thoroughly this project has been studied through engineering and technical reports and over-mitigated in order to protect the surrounding environment. The decision to delay the hearing will give staff the time they need to evaluate all of the materials submitted into the record.”
In February, The Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) and Poseidon Water entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together to make the desalination plant powered entirely by renewable energy.
“The MOU guarantees that OCPA and Poseidon Water will meet at least monthly to work toward a binding agreement to ensure the project can be powered entirely by renewable energy sources,” according to the press release.
The Orange County Water District is considering working with Poseidon Water, as well. The OCWD is most likely to consider purchasing from the source if the Poseidon Desalination plant is approved by the California Coastal commission, according to John Kennedy, executive director of engineering and local resources for OCWD.
“If they get the permits, we will consider making the final deal. We have been sitting around waiting for years for them to get the permit,” Kennedy told the Orange County Tribune.
The biggest factors the OCWD will consider will be the situation with imported water sources and cost of the water from the plant.
“The big advantage is its a drought-proof water supply source,” Kennedy said, “We could have all sorts of droughts and it will be a very reliable water supply. So that’s something to give serious thought to, given climate change and our drier weather patterns.”
The proposed $1.4 billion desalination plant has been controversial among residents of Huntington Beach and environmental activists in the area.
Activists say they are against the plant because they believe it’s bad for consumers, Orange County does not need the water, the desalination plant will harm local business and low-income residents, the plant is bad for ocean life, clean water supplies, and climate, and that Poseidon is not being honest, according to the Stop Poseidon petition.
Members of the Stop Poseidon coalition, which includes the groups Azul, Sunrise LA, the Surfrider Foundation and the California Coastal Protection Network, along with other community groups sent a letter to the California Coastal Commission on March 24 asking the commission to release financial information related to the proposed Brookfield-Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant as it is “in the public interest.”
“Clean and affordable safe water is our right,” said Andrea Leon-Grossmann, Director of Climate Action of Azul in a press release from March 28. “There are smart and affordable alternatives to seawater desalination, which requires more energy to produce a gallon of water than any other source – we are asking that these documents be made available to ensure corporate schemes don’t maximize the proposed desalination plant’s profits while placing a disproportionate financial burden on low-income residents of Orange County.”
The California Coastal Commission is yet to announce a date for the hearing.
Categories: Huntington Beach