California Court of Appeals Upholds State Lands Commission Approval

San Diego, CA – Poseidon Resources today announced that the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District has upheld the Superior Court’s ruling that the State Lands Commission complied with environmental laws when it approved the Carlsbad Desalination Project (“Project”). The ruling is the tenth legal challenge to the Project that has been considered and dismissed.

Over a seven year permitting period from 2003-2009, the project underwent approximately 20 public hearings and over 80 hours of public testimony and deliberation. In response to the approval of the Project by the state’s environmental permitting and regulatory agencies, a handful of seawater desalination opponents have unsuccessfully filed a dozen permit appeals, revocation requests and lawsuits in an attempt to delay the desalination project.

In August 2008, the California State Lands Commission unanimously authorized a lease agreement that allowed for operation of the Project using the Encina Power Station’s seawater intake and outfall facilities. The San Diego chapters of the Surfrider Foundation and Coastkeeper appealed the decision to the California Superior Court. In August 2009, the Superior Court dismissed the lawsuit, leading Project opponents to file an appeal.

"We appreciate the Court’s thoughtful consideration of the record and ruling upholding the Superior Court’s 2009 decision,” said Poseidon Resources’ Senior Vice President Peter MacLaggan. “The ruling is definitive and is the latest in a series of independent determinations that the Project complies with state environmental law,” said MacLaggan.

The litigants unsuccessfully argued that as a responsible agency under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the State Lands Commission should have required additional environmental studies. The Court of Appeal found no merit in the petitioner’s arguments and denied the petition on all grounds.

Poseidon Resources specializes in developing and financing water infrastructure projects, primarily seawater desalination and water treatment plants. These projects are implemented through innovative public-private partnerships in which private enterprise assumes the developmental and financial risks.