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Another Legal Challenge Over Carlsbad Desalination Plant

— The Surfrider Foundation filed a lawsuit Thursday against the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The suit challenges a permit that allows Poseidon Resources to withdraw 300 million gallons of seawater per day for the company's desalination plant in Carlsbad.

The complaint alleges that the plant must strictly comply with the California Water Code to minimize the intake and mortality of marine life.

Joe Geever with Surfrider said that as proposed, the desalination facility would kill countless marine organisms. He said a plan to replace these fish and other marine life through a restoration project somewhere else is not legal.

Geever said at issue is the use of the cooling water intake system used at the Encina Power Station in Carlsbad. The desalination plant would use that system.

The "once-through cooling" systems are being phased-out as new technology is more effective and kills fewer marine organisms.

California's State Water Resources Control Board is working on a new statewide policy on cooling intakes.

Scott Maloni with Poseidon Resources said this lawsuit is the 13th legal challenge (six permit appeals and seven lawsuits) involving the desalination project. He said 10 of those challenges have been rejected.

"This latest lawsuit is irrelevant to the financing and construction of the project," Maloni told KPBS News.

When completed in a few years, the desalination plant is expected to produce more than 50 million gallons of drinking water a day.

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Avatar for user 'sara_h'

sara_h | April 26, 2010 at 11:42 a.m. ― 6 years, 11 months ago

Desal is a great concept, and the technology is getting better all the time. If Poseidon hadn't lied to regulators, mucked up the approvals process, and weren't trying to co-locate with the power plant using something much more destructive than the best technology available, we'd probably have it in the ground already. They parade, posture, and peddle their pricey water, but they and their investors will make a huge profit off San Diegans... which means, they will lobby behind the scenes for your cost of water to increase exponentially in the years to come.

Recycled water for potable use, produced locally, will be purer and half as energy-intensive as imported water. If you trust the science and technology behind desal, wastewater reuse is even better. Conserve, re-use, and allow desal technology to improve before stranding us with a behemoth plant that will be too expensive to operate - (research Poseidon's work in Tampa.)

And, PS, none of the prior litigation has been dismissed as frivolous or without merit. One of Maloni's favorite PR spins includes claiming a "rejection" of some sort, but that's nothing but creative spin... Judges, too, are politically swayed and often support bad public policy, but none has supported Maloni's rhetoric.

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