GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Carlsbad desalination project survives revocation attempt

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 10, 2010

The California Coastal Commission voted 8-4 today against a motion to revoke the approval for the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.

At issue was whether the commission had earlier been misled about whether and how the project would be “carbon neutral.” The groups asking for revocation of the permit said that Poseidon Resources misled the commission into believing that Metropolitan Water District (MWD) would reduce its imports from the State Water Project (SWP) although later information revealed MWD would NOT reduce its imports (i.e., the key being that carbon emissions from the plant were to be offset by reduced carbon emissions from imported water).

What emerged during discussion is that the even though MWD would not reduce its SWP imports, it WOULD reduce water sent to San Diego. Since San Diego area reductions in water imports, not MWD reductions in SWP imports, were the basis of the commission’s understanding of carbon offsets for the plant, it became clear there wasn’t much more to discuss.

The majority view for the vote was, therefore, yes, Poseidon made misleading statements about MWD’s role, but that didn’t change the carbon offset picture for San Diego, and commissioners would not have voted differently at the beginning, knowing what they now know, although a few members did say that they might have wanted additional conditions.

This new lawsuit didn’t take long, though:

April 26, 2010: Surfrider Foundation files suit against San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board over Carlsbad Desalination Plant / Know Your H20


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