Environmental Press # 345

Subj: OOG,SEHBNA: Poseidon Desal LA Times Article, Editorial, Letters Needed
Date: 12/1/2003 1:35:08 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Jon V3
To: Jon V3

Dear OOG, SEHBNA, et al:

The LA Times has weighed in with an article and an editorial on a proposed public/private partnership for the proposed Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach, the one that ties into the antiquated AES power plant intake and discharge pipes that is sited in the worst beach pollution area in Huntington Beach.

See links at:

Los Angeles Times: New Water Source Idea

Los Angeles Times: Before We Turn On the Tap

In the article, the Orange County Water District (OCWD) is proposing a partnership with a private entity, such as the Shea company, to build a desalination plant in Huntington Beach at the same AES location. While the involvement of a public entity such as OCWD is essential to allay public trust concerns over privatization of ocean


water, oversight, and security issues, the location at the controversial AES site, with its attendant water quality and beach quality issues, makes this proposal subject to the same stringent environmental studies that are lacking in the Poseidon project.

In the editorial, the Times correctly states there are more questions than answers at this point, that the substantive Coastal Commission concerns should be heeded, that Huntington Beach should take its time in making the right decision, and that water conservation is a smart idea.

Recognizing that the City of Huntington Beach has deferred its decision to its December 15 meeting date, now is the time to fire off a letter to the editor of the LA Times. A sample letter is below.

Clearly, the environmental impact report is still a work in progress and it is premature for the HB City Council to approve the EIR and the CUP. In the long run, the concerns expressed by the State Parks Department at the last City Council meeting should be addressed, that is, the cause of the beach bacterial problems in Huntington Beach should be figured out, and any possible role of the AES plant should be determined, before Poseidon is allowed to alter the discharge that might further impact beach bacterial levels (see attached letter from the State Department of Parks and Recreation presented to the HB City Council at the November 17 meeting).


Jan Vandersloot (949) 548-6326

Sample email letter to the editor:

Address to: ocletters@latimes.com

Subject Line: Desalination Editorial: Before We Turn On The Tap

Body of email:

To The Editor:

I agree with the Times that approval of the desalination plant in Huntington Beach is premature. The Huntington Beach City Council should not make a decision until all the environmental studies have been done, including the concerns expressed by the Coastal Commission over what happens to the ocean and concerns expressed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation over water quality and beach bacterial problems, since the discharge of the adjacent industrial power plant into this persistently contaminated area will be altered by the desalination project, potentially leading to worse problems.

Perhaps the proposed site at the AES power plant is simply the wrong location for a desalination facility. Although the desalination project wants to take advantage of existing power plant pipes going into the ocean off Huntington Beach, this location happens to be where the worst bacterial problems in Huntington Beach have occurred, and these are ongoing problems with elevated beach bacterial readings. The reasons for the persistently high readings remain elusive, despite many millions of dollars of study.

It would seem a great folly to perpetuate and aggravate the water quality and beach quality problems of Huntington Beach because of a private venture that essentially exists to enable the development of thousands of homes in the inland reaches of Orange County.

Trading off the economic benefits of a clean beach to the City of Huntington Beach for private profit of inland land developers is not a good deal for the people of Huntington Beach.


Phone Number

See attached letter from the State Department of Parks and Recreation

Parks Dept. Poseidon Letter (11-17-03) part 1 / part 2

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