Originally published December 10, 2009 at 12:03 p.m., updated December 10, 2009 at 12:53 p.m.
The California Coastal Commission Thursday rejected a request from three environmental groups to revoke a coastal development permit for a desalination plant in Carlsbad.
SAN DIEGO The California Coastal Commission Thursday rejected a request from three environmental groups to revoke a coastal development permit for a desalination plant in Carlsbad.
The 9-to-3 vote to deny the revocation request came after two hours of testimony at the Coastal Commission meeting in San Francisco.
Three environmental groups -- the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation -- asked the California Coastal Commission to revoke Poseidon Resources' coastal development permit to build a desalination plant in Carlsbad based on three contentions:
1) That Poseidon intentionally withheld from the Commission accurate and complete data and analysis about the facility's expected impingement effects;
2) That Poseidon intentionally submitted inaccurate information about expected intake velocities; and
3) That Poseidon intentionally misstated its expected potable water production levels.
Poseidon Resources says there's no evidence the company intentionally withheld information or falsified study data.
Coastal Commission staff recommended the Commissioners deny the request on the basis that no grounds exist for revocation.
"The grounds for revocation are narrow and the Commission cannot reconsider a permit if new information has surfaced after the permit has been issued, no matter how compelling that information may be," Coastal Commission Deputy Director Alison Detmer told commissioners during the meeting.
“We appreciate the Coastal Commission’s decisive action today,” said Poseidon Resources’ Vice President Scott Maloni. “It is clear from the public record that the opponents’ claims are frivolous, and by rejecting the revocation request the Commission has once again exposed the opponents’ obstructionist tactics.
"We urge Project opponents to put an end to their senseless and meritless attack on a desperately needed new water supply project that has repeatedly passed every environmental and regulatory test.”
But the three environmental groups have filed another revocation request.
The filing states the Coastal Commission’s "reliance on Poseidon’s intentional submission of incomplete, inaccurate, and/or erroneous information regarding its offset of imported water and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions thus necessarily impacted the Commission’s approval of the Coastal Development Permit and its imposition of mitigation measures.
The second revocation request filing also states: "At the very least, Poseidon would have been required to offset all GHG emissions attributable to the Project – not a calculation excluding energy consumption attributable to State Water Project imports."
Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas said in Thursday's meeting that Poseidon Resources needs to amend their application regarding plans to offset greenhouse gas emissions generated from the desalination plant's operation.
Douglas said it's possible another permit revocation hearing could be held if Poseidon fails to amend their application.
Coastal Commissioner Esther Sanchez of Oceanside, who voted to deny revoking the development permit, said Poseidon Resources should work more closely with the commission.
If today's revocation request had been approved, Poseidon Resources would have been required to stop construction and reapply for a new coastal development permit.
The desalination plant would have the capacity of turning seawater into 50 million gallons of drinking water each day.