What's Up Poseidon?

  • Posted on 7 March 2022
  • By Charming Evelyn & Ray Hiemstra
In April of last year, the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board voted to grant Poseidon a permit to move ahead with the construction of their ocean desalination plant. The next step of course is that Poseidon would have to come before the California Coastal Commission (CCC).
Within that time and now, Poseidon had refused to pay permit fees to the CCC, then they acquiesced because without paying your fees, there can’t be a hearing. They also submitted another application to the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC) asking for a handout of $1.1 billion, of monies that should go to homelessness and housing. After much of an outcry, public comment, and articles in the LA Times and OC Register denouncing their actions, Poseidon has at this time not advanced their application further at CDLAC. However, this bears keeping a close eye on, so this doesn’t slip under the radar.
Last week we learned that the upcoming Coastal Commission hearing originally scheduled for March 17th, 2022 has been postponed.  The project proponents, Poseidon Brookfield do have the right to a one-time postponement of their hearing and they invoked it. The hearing may be held in May or June, as of the time of this publication we haven’t received further word. However, when we find out we will be sure to let you know. 
With this announcement, we will also be postponing our Monday Community Outreach meetings.
To distract us from the news of the postponement, Poseidon staged a duplicitous press conference to announce they would be going to 100% renewable energy to operate the Huntington Beach facility. However, on closer inspection, particularly of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), this agreement is as meaningless as the paper it’s written upon. A few highlights or lowlights depending on your viewpoint:
  • Operation of the facility to occur for a minimum of 30 years
  • Electricity purchased from SCE off the grid for construction & operation will be 100% carbon neutral
  • The parties acknowledge that they share the goal of developing a cost-competitive 100% renewable energy project
  • Poseidon shall provide the resources and financial assurances to complete the investigation of a 100% renewable energy product
  • Both parties will enter into a non-disclosure agreement
  • It is mutually agreed upon by both parties that the MOU does not obligate either party to enter into an agreement or customer relationship
Begs the question, why the big show?
As we get closer to the Coastal Commission hearing date we will once again launch our pre-hearing community mobilizations meetings. At those meetings you will be able to hear from outstanding speakers…experts on the topics like sea-level rise, greenhouse gasses, coastal armoring, and more.  These are all issues that the CCC must consider when they meet to make a decision about Poseidon. 
Our coalition includes every leading environmental group both at the national level and locally.  Poseidon is such a terrible project, both for people and the environment that it brings everyone together.  Read our coalition’s statement on the postponement of the hearing HERE
The coalition released an SLR simulation which got coverage in the OC Register. View simulation video here.
If you’d like to get involved in this issue please contact Charming or Ray. You don’t have to be a Sierra Club member to get involved!

See previous article on CDLAC

Charming is the Chair of the Angeles Chapter Water Committee and Co-Chair of the Sierra Club California Water Committee.
Ray is the Chair of the Orange County Conservation Committee and a long-standing member of the Water Committee.

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