Coastal Commission Staff Recommends Denial of Request to Revoke Carlsbad Desalination Proj

California Air Resources Board Opposes Efforts to Revisit Project’s GHG Plan
San Diego – Poseidon Resources today announced that California Coastal Commission staff has recommended that the Commission deny the request made by opponents of seawater desalination to revoke the Coastal Development Permit for the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The Commission is scheduled to hear the revocation request when it meets in Oceanside, CA on Wednesday, February 10th.

Today, the Coastal Commission also received a letter [attached] from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Chairman Mary Nichols expressing the agency’s continued support for Poseidon’s Energy Minimization and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan (“GHG Plan”). CARB’s letter concludes that there is no new information that would require the Coastal Commission to revisit the GHG Plan. The letter also refutes claims made by opponents that Poseidon intentionally withheld information from the Commission when it approved the GHG Plan in August 2008.

This is the second time opponents have petitioned the Coastal Commission to revoke the development permit that was issued to the desalination project in November 2007. The first revocation request was rejected by a super majority of the Coastal Commission in December 2009.

Although construction of the facility began in November 2009, project opponents, led by environmental litigator Marco Gonzalez, continue to attempt to block advancement of the project. This latest revocation request is an improper attempt to revisit the Commission’s approval of Poseidon’s GHG Plan. Poseidon has made an unprecedented, voluntary commitment that the Carlsbad Desalination Project will be the first large-scale infrastructure project in the state to be net carbon neutral.

Poseidon first made this voluntary commitment, now a condition to the project’s Coastal Development Permit, despite the fact that the desalination plant itself does not emit greenhouse gases, is not regulated by CARB under AB32 (The Global Warming Solutions Act), and the Coastal Commission does not have the authority to regulate air quality emissions in conflict with CARB’s jurisdiction.

Not satisfied with these tremendous commitments, opponents are trying to manipulate the Coastal Commission's limited authority to consider revocation of Coastal Development Permits in order to get the Commission to revisit its GHG Plan approval and to encumber the project with additional unnecessary and financially burdensome mitigation requirements.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” said Poseidon Resources’ Vice President Scott Maloni. “Once again, opponents are attempting to overturn a decision that was made after lengthy public hearings and exhaustive review by the Coastal Commission and other regulatory agencies simply because they disagree with the verdict. Like the previous revocation request, this request is meritless and a waste of the Commission’s valuable time and its taxpayer-funded budget,” said Maloni. “The administrative record is clear and indisputable on this matter; claims made by opponents that Poseidon intentionally withheld information from the Coastal Commission are reckless and unfounded.” said Maloni.

Since 1998, Poseidon has worked in partnership with the City of Carlsbad, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Sweetwater Authority, Santa Fe Irrigation District, City of Oceanside, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, Rainbow Municipal Water District and the Vallecitos Water District to build the desalination plant, which will have the capacity to produce 50-million-gallons-per-day of high quality drinking water and serve 300,000 residents annually. Phase I of project construction started in November 2009. During the two and half-year construction and start up, the project will create 2,100 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic stimulus. The facility is scheduled to be operational in 2012.

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.