Carlsbad legal challenge loses Surfrider Foundation.

One of the two groups staging a last-ditch challenge to the Carlsbad desalination plant, Surfrider Foundation, has abandoned its legal challenge to the California State Lands Commission’s approval of the project.

In August, the San Diego Superior Court issued a final ruling upholding the State Lands Commission’s 2008 approval of the Project. The Surfrider Foundation and Coastkeeper jointly filed an appeal against the Court’s ruling in December 2009.

Coastkeeper remains the only appellant.

Meanwhile, Jonas Minton, a former deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources and chair of the state Desalination Task Force, has challenged the zero-carbon footprint claimed for the project by its proposers, Poseidon Resources. Minton, now water policy advisor to the Planning & Conservation League, claims that offsetting Carlsbad’s energy use and against energy saved in not bringing water from northern California is contradicted by the company’s agreement with with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

“By promising that its project would replace water pumped from the north, Poseidon was able to claim a large reduction in the plant’s ‘net’ carbon footprint,” explains Minton on California Progress Report. “What the company withheld was that their financing contract with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California specifically disallows this replacement. Poseidon, it turns out, is claiming it can trade something it doesn’t have.”