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Conditions of Huge Desalination Project to Soon Be Decided

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Aired 4/19/09

The California Coastal Commission is expected to decide Wednesday morning whether to approve conditions for the construction of the largest desalination project in the country. Poseidon Resources wants to build the plant in Carlsbad. KPBS Environmental Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The Coastal Commission approved the construction permit last November but added two conditions.

Scott Maloni with Poseidon Resources says the company agreed to the conditions.  

Maloni : And those two conditions deal with greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing impacts to marine life.

The company proposes to restore 37 acres of marine wetlands to offset any potential affect to local marine life.

Poseidon also plans to take measures to offset greenhouse gas emissions.

But some environmental groups say the plans to offset emissions and harm to marine life isn't good enough.

Gabriel Solmer with San Diego Coastkeeper says improving other areas doesn't compensate for damage at the Carlsbad location.

Solmer : We can't just think of this as one more project to net out the impacts we actually have to reduce those impacts and not just cover them up.

Poseidon's Maloni says construction of the plant could start next year and water could be delivered to homes in the region by 2011.

But environmental groups have indicated they may take legal action to keep the plant from being built.

It would produce 50 million gallons of drinking water a day by converting seawater sucked in through pipes.

Poseidon still needs approval for a public land lease before construction could begin.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

 

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