The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously Thursday to deny permitting for a proposed $1.4 billion Poseidon Water desalination plant, which would turn seawater into drinking water off the shore of Orange County.
The plant was to be built near Pacific Coast Highway and Magnolia off Huntington State Beach.
The project is controversial, with some saying it would provide a great drought-proof source of water, while others worry about the monetary and environmental costs.
The Stop Poseidon coalition, a group that describes itself as a collective of “environmental justice, coastal and ocean conservation groups,” celebrated the ruling in a press release.
“Today was a good day, it’s a day where the Elders of our community truly felt that they have been heard and considered in a space where they have not been in the past,” said Frankie Orona of the Society of Native Nations, environmental liaison for Chief Anthony Morales of the Gabrieleno Tongva Tribe of the San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians. “Thank you to the California Coastal Commission and its staff for supporting us in stopping and denying the the Poseidon Desalination Project permit request in Huntington Beach California.”
Though their effort failed, Poseidon Director of Communications Jessica Jones thanked those who spoke on the project’s behalf.
“This was not the decision we were hoping for today … Every day, we see new calls for conservation as reservoir levels drop to dangerous lows. We firmly believe that this desalination project would have created a sustainable, drought-tolerant source of water for Orange County, just as it has for San Diego County,” Jones said.