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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Faces Another Revocation Hearing

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Aired 2/9/10

Opponents of a desalination plant in Carlsbad want a state agency to revoke the project's coastal development permit. A hearing on the revocation request starts Wednesday morning in Oceanside.

— Opponents of a desalination plant in Carlsbad want a state agency to revoke the project's coastal development permit. A hearing on the revocation request starts Wednesday morning in Oceanside.

The desalination project is located at the Encina Power Station in the City of Carlsbad.
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Above: The desalination project is located at the Encina Power Station in the City of Carlsbad.

It's the second time in as many months that opponents of the desalination project have asked the California Coastal Commission to revoke the plant's coastal development permit.

The first request was rejected by the commission.

Marco Gonzalez with the Encinitas-based Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation said Poseidon Resources did not submit certain facts about how the plant would offset greenhouse gas emissions.

"We have filed a revocation request, but we recognize that the appropriate response is probably to direct Poseidon to go back and work with the commission staff to come up with the appropriate greenhouse gas baseline," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said a new baseline would likely require the company to do more to offset the emissions.

"The environmental community is not looking to kill every desalination project that comes forward, but we think that this first one needs to be responsibly constructed," said Gonzalez.

Poseidon Resources has also proposed building a desalination facility in Huntington Beach.

"We believe that the revocation request is patently frivolous and without merit," said Scott Maloni with Poseidon Resources. "This is an improper attempt by the opponents of the project to revisit a policy determination that the commission made almost two years ago over how we address indirect greenhouse gas emissions."

Maloni expects the commission to turn down the revocation request.

The desalination plant would have the capacity to produce 50 million gallons of drinking water a day or enough for about 300,000 homes.

The project broke ground last spring and Maloni said the plant is expected to be operational in 2012.

Environmental groups have filed three lawsuits challenging approvals of the project by other state and local regulatory agencies.

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