Ocean conservationists challenge Huntington Beach decision in court

A coalition of environmental groups in California has filed a lawsuit challenging the State Lands Commission on its decision to approve amendments to Poseidon’s environmental impact study for the Huntington Beach desalination project.

In October, the State Lands Commission approved amendments to the environmental impact report, believing that the changes brought the project into compliance with regulations set out in the California Ocean Plan in 2015.

The amendments provide for a 1mm wide wedgewire screen intake that is designed to reduce impacts on marine mortality.

The lawsuit filed at Sacramento County Superior Court alleges that the environmental review by the State Lands Commission was inadequate, and failed to consider whether the plant is needed, and how the desalinated water will be distributed. The groups challenging the decision are Orange County Coastkeeper, California Coastal Protection Network, and California Coastkeeper Alliance.

The proposed 50 million gallons a day (189,000 m3/d) desalination plant is still to be approved by the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Coastal Commission.