News Feature | September 2, 2016

Despite Environmental Concerns, Civil Rights Organization Supports Desalination Project

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson


The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), one of the country’s oldest Latino civil rights organization, is supporting a $1 billion desalination project in Southern California.

According to Grist, LULAC’s Dave Rodriguez recently argued his stance for the project known as Poseidon.

Some studies indicate that projects such as Poseidon bring many concerns when dealing with rising water rates and harsh air quality, Grist reported. Studies also indicated that disadvantaged communities and people of color are usually the ones to suffer those costs most greatly.

Rodriguez added, according to Grist, that getting Poseidon operational is not only a matter of environmental justice, but a civil rights issue as well.

Grist reported that if Poseidon is approved, it would be attached to a power plant that sits next to a mobile home park. It would also require extra amounts of energy from that plant for its large-scale desalination plans.

The additional energy would also bring additional pollution from the plant, according to Grist. Poseidon would also leave behind sludge and brine that would be dumped back into the ocean.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the developer of Poseidon in Huntington Beach announced that he is looking to streamline the plant’s approval process.

According to a news release obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the California Coastal Commission was supposed to consider Poseidon’s coastal development permit in early September.

Poseidon and commission staff decided that the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board would determine if the plant is in accordance with a new desalination amendment, reported the Los Angeles Times.

The amendment states that “projects must use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible to minimize the intake and mortality of marine life.”

"While the regulatory process has been a long and winding road, we feel this is in the long-term best interest of receiving project approval and we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with Coastal Commission staff to develop this water reliability project for Orange County," Poseidon spokesman Brian Lochrie told the Los Angeles Times in an email.

To read about similar projects visit Water Online’s Desalination Solutions Center.

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