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Desalination still poses too many risks for coastal areas

To the editor: The Times wrongly supports the Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach. ("In Huntington Beach, a desalination plant that makes sense," editorial, Oct. 19)

The editorial lays out all the reasons the privately built plant is not needed, citing the environmental damage and high costs. Then it puts those under the shroud of "a relatively safe bet" for a "portfolio of approaches" and recommends that the Coastal Commission approve the proposal with the "caveat that if the effects on the marine environment are significantly worse than expected, the plant will have to shut down until it fixes them."

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Water experts say the problem is not water shortage but water management. If Poseidon is requiring a commitment to buy its unneeded water for 50 years, the public should be ensured — at the outset — that its activities have no environmental downside, because this is a commitment that could have long-lasting effects on our fragile coastal environment.

Gloria Sefton, Trabuco Canyon

The writer is a board member of Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks.

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To the editor: California dumps millions of gallons of fresh water into the Pacific Ocean every day. It costs far more to desalinate ocean water than it does to clean and purify fresh river water.

The state should build water purifying plants near the terminus of California's rivers and add the resulting water to our supply. It is time for us to stop wasting all this fresh water.

Bill Simpson, Rancho Palos Verdes

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