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Coastal Commission Meeting in Newport Beach

What: Poseidon Water’s Coastal Development Permit application for their proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant will be considered at the Nov. 13 California Coastal Commission meeting. Community members are encouraged to attend the hearing to tell the Commissioners to deny Poseidon’s permit. Project opponents will be available to assist with filling out speaker cards and pass out signs. Coalition members oppose the proposed project because of a variety of reasons including its cost, energy use and negative impacts to the marine environment.

Who: Project opponents, include Orange County Coastkeeper, the Surfrider Foundation, Residents for Responsible Desalination (R4RD), California Coastal Protection Network, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

When: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 at 7:30 a.m.

Where: Newport Beach City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, 92660.  

Why: The Coastal Commission staff report recommends approving the permit, but with many conditions that would reduce the plant’s environmental impacts and risks from an earthquake or tsunami. Throughout the planning process, Poseidon’s proposed desalination facility has fallen short of California’s resource protection goals and poses a serious threat to the Orange County coast. Concurrently, the State Water Board is developing a statewide desalination policy that will establish clear standards for desalination facilities. Avoiding these regulations now means the Huntington Beach facility will be required to retrofit—at the expense of the ratepayer. 

North and Central Orange County have the benefit of a large aquifer, and the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) ensures a reliable water supply at less than half the cost of desalinated water, with significantly reduced environmental impacts. A desalination plant in Huntington Beach is not necessary in the short-term and if built, it will become prematurely obsolete in the long-term as Direct Potable Reuse will deliver water more efficiently and for less than the cost of desalinated water. Further, because recycled water projects, like the GWRS, employ the same technology as seawater desalination, the benefit of job creation would be the same. 

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