Court dismisses Carlsbad desalination permit challenge
Poseidon Resources jumped what it hopes will be the final legal hurdle for the Carlsbad Desalination Project on 24 June 2011, when the California Superior Court upheld the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board's most recent approval of the project.Eight lawsuits and five permit appeals have been filed against the Carlsbad project between 2006 and 2009, primarily by the San Diego chapters of Surfrider Foundation and Coastkeeper. In its latest challenge, the Surfrider Foundation alleged that the project did not comply with California Water Code Section 13142.5(b), which requires new industrial facilities using seawater for processing to use the best available site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible to avoid the intake and mortality of marine life.
In her judgment, Judge Hayes ruled that the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board properly applied state law, and that "Water Code Section 13142.5(b) does not prohibit the implementation of restorative mitigation measures when considering a project's best available, site, design, technology and mitigation measures feasible."
Judge Hayes' ruling went on to say, "The plain language of the (section) provides that mitigation measures, together with the best available site, design and technology will be used for each new coastal industrial plant."
Judge Hayes also ruled that the Federal Clean Water Act Section 316(b) does not apply to desalination plants as originally asserted by Surfrider.
"We appreciate the court's thoughtful consideration of the record built by the project over the past decade," said Poseidon Resources' senior vice president Peter MacLaggan. "The ruling is definitive and is the latest independent determination that the project complies with all applicable state and federal environmental laws."