California

Residents celebrate as California Coastal Commission rejects Huntington Beach desalination plant plan

Residents celebrate as California Coastal Commission rejects Huntington Beach desalination plant plan

After hours of heated debate, the California Coastal Commission voted against a controversial plan by the Poseidon Water company to build a massive desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

Despite the worsening drought and repeated calls from Governor Gavin Newsom to use the Pacific Ocean as a source of drinking water, commissioners voted unanimously against the plan Thursday night. The decision, recommended by the committee’s staff, could put an end to the company’s plans for the $1.4 billion plant.

By denying Poseidon a permit, the commission demonstrated its independence from the Newsom administration and also sent the message that high costs, noisy opposition and dangers such as sea level rise could pose major hurdles to major desalination plants on the California coast.

Debbie Andrews, center, of Huntington Beach, celebrates with others as California Coastal Commission rejects plan

Debbie Andrews, center, of Huntington Beach, celebrates with others as the California Coastal Commission rejects a plan for Poseidon Water to build a desalination plan in Huntington Beach.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

People celebrate the decision to reject the desalination plant.

Lydia Ponce, left, of the Mayo & Quechua Society of Native Americans, hugs Andrea Leon-Grossmann, second from left, director of climate action for the nonprofit Azul, and Susan Jordan, right, director of California Coastal Protection Network all celebrate the decision of the California Coastal Commission.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

An aerial view of the Huntington Beach Wetlands and the Huntington Beach Energy Center

An aerial view of the Huntington Beach Wetlands and the Huntington Beach Energy Center, formerly AES Huntington Beach, the proposed site of Poseidon’s desalination plant.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

A man holds a sign against the proposed Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach

A man holds a sign against the proposed Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach as he listens to speakers at the California Coastal Commission hearing.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Audience members show support for a speaker against Poseidon's proposed desalination plant

Audiences support a speaker against Poseidon’s proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant at the California Coastal Commission hearing in Costa Mesa.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Union workers supporting the Poseidon Water desalination project are showing signs of support

Union workers supporting the Poseidon Water desalination project show signs of support as they attend the California Coastal Commission hearing.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Audience Members Against Proposed Poseidon Desalination Project in Huntington Beach

Audience members opposing the proposed Poseidon desalination project in Huntington Beach, listen to speakers at the California Coastal Commission hearing in Costa Mesa.

(Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

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