Coastal commission taking up Poseidon appeal

The California Coastal Commission

will take up an appeal alleging that Huntington Beach's approvals of the Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant project were inconsistent with the city's Local Coastal Program, or LCP.

The commission will hold a public hearing on the appeal to determine if it has merit, commission officials said. They can uphold, amend or overrule Huntington Beach's approval at the public hearing, officials said.

A date for the hearing hasn't been set.

Orange County Coastkeeper, the Surfrider Foundation, Residents for Responsible Desalination and Commissioners Sara Wan and Ross Mirkarimi filed the appeal Oct. 5.

The appeal alleges the project is inconsistent with the LCP in a number of areas, including protection of marine life, water quality, wetlands, environmentally sensitive habitat areas, and protection against seismic events and liquefaction.

Huntington Beach approved a $350-million seawater desalination plant within the AES power plant in the southern section of the city. The plant would take in about 100 million gallons of seawater a day to produce 50 million gallons of fresh water for Orange County residents.

The rest of the water would be mixed with the power plant's cooling water discharge before heading 1,500 feet offshore. The returned water would have an estimated 20% higher salinity than regular seawater, according to the coastal commission's staff report.

Poseidon Resources, the company behind the desalination plant, has gained the approval of the city and the State Lands Commission, and needs one final approval from the coastal commission.

Britney Barnes

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