The developer of a proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach announced Friday that it is seeking to streamline its approval process.
The California Coastal Commission was originally supposed to consider Poseidon Water's coastal development permit Sept. 9, according to a news release from the company.
Instead, Poseidon and commission staff opted for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board to determine if the plant first complies with the new Desalination Amendment, which requires that projects must use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of marine life.
"While the regulatory process has been a long and winding road, we feel this is in the long-term best interest of receiving project approval and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with Coastal Commission staff to develop this water reliability project for Orange County," Poseidon spokesman Brian Lochrie said in an email.
Ray Hiemstra, associate director for Orange County Coastkeeper, an environmental organization that has been critical of the Poseidon project, said he sees the move as a "step in the right direction."
He called previous agencies' reviews of the plans "haphazard" because they examined it independently of one another instead of together.
"It hasn't been a coordinated method," Hiemstra said. "With this move by Poseidon, they're following the process so it has a rigorous review and it has due process for the entire review. What we're looking at now is the agencies talking to each other and figuring out exactly what's going to be covered."
The estimated $1-billion desalination plant, proposed to be built next to the AES power plant at Newland Street and Pacific Coast Highway, is expected to produce 50 million gallons per day of desalinated water.
Brittany Woolsey, firstname.lastname@example.org