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Coastal Commission Asks Poseidon Resources For More Alternatives

Wetland Restoration Plan Proposal Lacks “Plan B”

Audio

Aired 10/15/10

The California Coastal Commission did not vote Friday on the issue of a restoration plan proposed by the developers of a desalination plant in Carlsbad.

The California Coastal Commission did not vote Friday on the issue of a restoration plan proposed by the developers of a desalination plant in Carlsbad.

Instead they voted to continue the issue and told Poseidon Resources to submit alternative sites for consideration.

The company is required to pay for the restoration to offset the killing of marine life once the Carlsbad desalination plant is in operation. The plant has not yet been constructed.

Poseidon Resources proposed restoring a wetland in the Otay River Floodplain in the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. It's an area in the south part of the San Diego Bay where the river meets the estuary.

Commissioners expressed concern that there were no other sites proposed. Many of the commissioners said not having a “plan B” is critical, since the proposed restoration site is near the South Bay Power Plant.

Coastal Commission staff said the power plant’s intake pipes would harm any marine life produced at the restored wetland.

Environmental groups and several Coastal Commissioners pointed out there’s no shutdown date for the power plant on the Chula Vista bayfront.

The operators of the facility, Dynegy, Inc., plan to ask for a permit to continue operating through the end of 2011.

Commissioners wanted Poseidon Resources to come up with some alternatives in case the power plant is still operating when the restoration is supposed to happen.

Commissioner Esther Sanchez of Oceanside said she hopes some areas in North San Diego County, such as Aqua Hedionda Lagoon, would be considered as restoration sites.

"This is impacting Carlsbad," said Sanchez, who is also an Oceanside City Councilwoman. "There are lagoons in North County that are in a bad situation and some of them are disappearing."

Sanchez said since the damage to the ocean ecosystem and marine life is in Carlsbad, a restoration site closer to where the damage will occur makes sense.

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