The California Coastal Commission unanimously rejected the proposed construction of the $1.4 billion Poseidon Water seawater desalination plant Wednesday. The plant would have caused substantial harm to both marine ecosystems near the proposed Huntington Beach site, and nearby communities, critics argued. It would also use substantial amounts of energy in a region less strapped for water than other parts of the state, and the company backing the project had no binding agreements to provide water to any water districts. Gov. Newsom supported the project.
In addition to the negative externalities of the Poseidon plant, the Commission’s staff also warned against approving the project because of its vulnerability to sea-level rise and seismic activity. “This desal proposal is privatization of water. It provides a large private profit,” Vice Chair Caryl Hart said before casting her vote. “It would harm the public welfare.” (LA Times $, CAL Matters, AP, CBS, Reuters, KTLA, CNN)