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Environmentalists plan to protest proposed Poseidon desalination plant

Environmentalists plan to protest proposed Poseidon desalination plant
The proposed Poseidon desalination facility would be built near this AES power plant in Huntington Beach. (File Photo)

About 250 demonstrators are expected to gather near Tower 2 at Huntington State Beach Saturday to protest Poseidon Water’s proposed ocean desalination plant.

The event is set to begin at 9 a.m. with a beach cleanup. Protestors plan to begin marching at 11 a.m. along Pacific Coast Highway, between Brookhurst and Newland streets, where the proposed facility would be built.

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Costa Mesa-based Orange County Coastkeeper is leading the rally ahead of Wednesday’s Orange County Water District board meeting in Fountain Valley. Board members are expected to vote on updated terms for buying Poseidon’s water.

“We want to get as many people as possible to the meeting to let them know we don’t like Poseidon,” said Ray Hiemstra, associate director of programs for Coastkeeper. “There should be a lot of cars lined up, trying to get into the beach.”

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Poseidon’s project has long been disputed by environmentalists, who say the $1 billion plant would harm marine life by trapping it in an intake system and by discharging briny water back into the ocean.

Poseidon has said there would be no significant impact on sea creatures and has committed to an environmental protection and energy efficiency plan.

Water District officials were scheduled to take action June 7 but delayed the vote because they wanted more time to review the rate plan and gather public input.

If approved, the non-binding, updated term sheet would shorten the length of the agreement between the water district and Poseidon from 50 years to 30 or 35 years.

It also would change how the district pays for the desalinated seawater and require Poseidon to finance and build the facility needed to distribute water to other water agencies.

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