Will Surfrider’s distortions block Orange County desalination plant?

Will Surfrider’s distortions block Orange County desalination plant?

“Please join us in protecting our coast and ocean by sending the Coastal Commission a message today: DENY THE HUNTINGTON BEACH OCEAN DESALINATION FACILITY AND ENSURE THAT THIS PROJECT, AND THE MANY MORE TO FOLLOW, WON’T DESTROY PRECIOUS MARINE LIFE AND HABITAT!”

So screams an online appeal by the Surfrider Foundation to its “powerful activist network,” which apparently is OK with the ocean being used for recreation but not for purposes of providing water usable by Orange County’s more than 3 million residents.

hunt-aerial-320.pngAt its Nov. 13 meeting in Newport Beach, the state Coastal Commission will consider a challenge to plans by Poseidon Water to build a seawater desalination plant six miles up the road in Huntington Beach that will produce 50 million gallons of freshwater a day, enough to cover roughly 8 percent of the county’s needs.

Executives for Poseidon, a private company headquartered in Boston, with a  West Coast office in Carlsbad, say the Huntington Beach desal facility will be the largest,  most technologically advanced and most energy efficient not only in California, and not only in the United States, but in the entire Western Hemisphere.

The project has an estimated price tag of $899 million and the taxpayers of neither Huntington Beach, nor Orange County, nor the state of California will foot the bill. Instead, Poseidon will go to the bond market to finance the build.

It is because of the promise of increasing the supply of water to residents of the nation’s sixth-largest county, and because much of the cost will be borne by Poseidon, that the county’s 11 representatives in the state Legislature, Democrats and Republicans, recently sent a letter to the Coastal Commission backing the proposed desal plant.

What Surfrider’s fear-mongering ignores

But none of that matters to Surfrider, which thinks it knows better than Orange County’s 11 elected representatives in Sacramento how the commission should vote on the Huntington Beach desal project.

pw-logoIndeed, Surfrider claims that Poseidon’s plant design for Huntington Beach “would set the lowest possible standards for protecting our coast and ocean.” The group frets that the proposed plant might “unnecessarily kill marine life.”

It warns that discharge of highly concentrated brine into the ocean “degrades water quality and marine life habitat if not properly diluted.” And it cautions that ocean desal is “the most energy-intensive and expensive water supply option in California.”

What may not be known to many, if not most, of those attending the Coastal Commission’s Nov. 13 meeting — that is, those who are not members of Surfriders’ “powerful activist network” — is that the plant design for Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desal plant that supposedly would set the “lowest possible standards” is almost identical to the design the commission previously approved for Poseidon’s Carlsbad desal plant.

As to the threat the Huntington Beach plant poses to marine life and habitat, Scripps Institution of Oceanography coastal engineer Scott Jenkins and marine biologist Jeffrey Graham concluded that “the science has demonstrated the effects of the desalination facility on the marine environment are benign.”

The amount of energy to produce enough desal water to meet a family’s need for a year is no more the energy need to run a refrigerator for a year. And the Orange County Water District estimates that desal water would increase residential water bills 7 percent in 2017, which works out to $3.50 on a $50 water bill.

Orange County’s state legislative delegation unanimously agreed, “The Huntington Beach Desalination Project is a critically needed and environmentally responsible solution to the county’s supply needs.”

It remains to be seen whether the unelected state Coastal Commission overrides the will of the county’s duly elected state representatives.

26 comments

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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 1 November, 2013, 13:44

    Coastal Greens vs. “Inland” Greens (those who hate dams and any water project that taps the Sierras or Rockies via the Colorado, and who presumably LOVE desal projects).

    Ignorant, narrowly focused all around.

    Ya gotta love this state.

    Reply this comment
    • Sue
      Sue 6 November, 2013, 12:52

      Oh Jimmy you do not deserve a response, but I will trip trap over your bridge.
      This is not a binary problem. There are other ways. Try to see the 50 shades of green.
      Your narrow view of the possible solutions for the water problem just breeds ignorance.
      And I do love this state.

      Reply this comment
  2. The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit
    The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit 1 November, 2013, 14:22

    LOL— so surfing deposits what in the water?

    The de sal nightmare kills sea life and continues the death by 1000 cuts our coast has suffered—- I will go with Surfrider Foundation anyday–

    Reply this comment
  3. BobfromSanLuis
    BobfromSanLuis 1 November, 2013, 21:47

    The Surfrider Foundation is usually only thought of as an “extreme group” by only the most conservative of observers; is this publication interested in pursuing journalistic integrity, or inflammatory headlines slanted to make a political point? Truth is, desalination does not have a good environmental track record up to this point; perhaps this new plant will bend the curve and actually not harm the environment- if this is the case and the Surfrider Foundation is wrong, I’ll wager that they would embrace the technology. Seems like there needs to be a nonpartisan third party corroboration of the company’s technology.
    And keep those classy “nonpartisan” headlines rolling out ….

    Reply this comment
  4. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 1 November, 2013, 21:52

    Thanks, Teddy. As I said….Ignorance all around.

    So desal is a “nightmare”. Dams and aqueducts kill fish.

    WAIT! I KNOW!….. Let’s just get all our water from Perrier in little bottles!

    There! Problem solved.

    Reply this comment
  5. Ted Steele, CEO
    Ted Steele, CEO 2 November, 2013, 18:44

    Well said Bob from
    SLO—-

    Surfrider is hardly extreme— they usually use science and have well thought out middle positions…..desal is an ignorant bandaid like most “end of the pipe” solutions….

    Reply this comment
  6. a frequent reader
    a frequent reader 4 November, 2013, 13:11

    When the facts can’t be argued intellectually, they scare them into submission with lies and negativity.

    “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

    Sound familiar TS?

    Reply this comment
  7. ricky65
    ricky65 5 November, 2013, 08:47

    Luddite Ted says:..”and surfers deposit what in the water?”
    C’mon teddy boy.. we all know surfers pee in their wetsuits.

    But from you and ‘Surfrider’ wackos point of view, this has be a bad project.

    Just imagine the horrific environmental damage that can occur when salt is taken from seawater and then is returned to the sea later.
    Oh, the humanity…

    Reply this comment
  8. The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit
    The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit 5 November, 2013, 10:57

    Here ya go sleepy trolls– have someone read this to you—- then post—

    http://www.paua.de/Impacts.htm

    Hurry!

    Reply this comment
  9. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 5 November, 2013, 15:29

    The City of San Diego continues to pump and dump primary (=untreated) sewage effluent off Pt. Loma in violation of the Clean Water Act, with the blessing of the Surfrider Foundation.
    Hypocrites!
    The Tijuana River is a garbage and raw sewage-choked nightmare. The Surfrider Foundation is SILENT!
    The international border wastewater treatment plant is a FIASCO.
    But the Surfrider Foundation has decided to draw a line in the sand with desal. Whatever! They have no credibility. They will lose on this issue like they lost in Carlsbad.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted Steele, CEO
    Ted Steele, CEO 6 November, 2013, 07:51

    Actually Bill– Surfrider sued and filed amicus briefs on that discharge twice— get your facts straight little buddy!

    Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 6 November, 2013, 09:53

      Hey little Ted-I’ve got my facts so straight it would blow your mind. Your lawsuits and briefs went nowhere. You settled with a pledge for ‘potable reuse’, e.g. the same agency that that can’t comply with the Clean Water Act (the City) is now going to treat same wastewater stream to drinking water quality and feed it back to the ratepayers. hahaha gotta love that. Meanwhile I have it on very good authority that the sludge blanket on the ocean floor at the outfall is so thick it fills up a marine canyon. You see the waiver from the CWA also waives the CWA solids discharge limits….So its good to see Surfrider taking a beak from enabling massive pump and dumps to squish its heel down on water sustainability.

      Reply this comment
      • Ted Steele, CEO
        Ted Steele, CEO 6 November, 2013, 21:37

        LOL— well your “facts” said first that Surfrider did nothing— lol— now you agree they sued! Please try harder—- oh—- and remember when Surfrider shut down the much more massive Huntington Beach primary ocean dump????? LOL—Oh my little buddy!

        Reply this comment
        • Bill Gore
          Bill Gore 7 November, 2013, 16:14

          Glad I amused you in your thin-skinned, lawyerly critique of my first comment. I’ll stick with it: Surfrider did nothing, in the final analysis, to stop the dumping. In FACT it enabled further dumping. Period. (as holy Obama would put it).
          But grok this Marco (sorry, I mean Ted): there is a vast flotilla of Fukushima debris (estimated by NOAA at > 1 million tons, the size of Texas) bearing down at this moment on the California coast. You cannot litigate against it, it cannot be stopped. It is going to cause more immediate damage to the precious marine environment than anything else known to date. Not even your sarcasm will stop it. This could be your finest hour. Show us your chops dude.

          Reply this comment
  11. george
    george 6 November, 2013, 12:40

    First it needs to be noted that Perkins does not believe the earth is currently warming. Check his articles on the matter and take note of how he lines up the details (but ignores the broader facts), as it may be instructive for how to approach his writing. Next, Perkins ‘apparently’ thinks it ‘is OK’ to suggest that Surfriders recreational use of the ocean somehow makes them unworthy of weighing in in the desal issue. Finally, observe how Perkins backs up his demonizing of a generally well liked organization like Surfrider by quoting two scientists and explaining that Poseidon is a huge company prepared to spend a huge amount of money on this project.
    I initially began to research this issue becasue I was trying to make an informed decision about the value of a desal plant in HB. Surprising that Perkins’ article has been the most influential in my determination that it is a bad idea. This is not just a result of his overzealous bias but due to the facts at the end of the article that he likes to belittle such as a 7% increase in water bills and the energy expenditure. We don’t need an extra fridge per household increase in energy to supply water and that is what Surfrider has been suggesting.

    Reply this comment
  12. Sue
    Sue 6 November, 2013, 13:05

    Perkins ‘apparently’ thinks it ‘is OK’ to suggest that Surfriders recreational use of the ocean somehow makes them unworthy of weighing in in the desal issue. Also observe how Perkins backs up his demonizing of a generally well liked organization like Surfrider by quoting just two scientists and explaining that Poseidon is a huge company prepared to spend a huge amount of money on this project.
    I initially began to research this issue becasue I was trying to make an informed decision about the value of a desal plant in HB. Surprising that Perkins’ article has been the most influential in my determination that this particular project is a bad idea. This is not just a result of his overzealous bias but due to the facts at the end of the article that he tries to belittle i.e. a 7% increase in water bills and the energy expenditure. We don’t need an extra fridge per household increase in energy to supply water. In fact that is basically one of Surfrider’s suggestions that there are better alternatives.

    Reply this comment
  13. Ted Steele, CEO
    Ted Steele, CEO 6 November, 2013, 21:39

    Here’s a little tidbit from the UN today— man has created now CO2 levels the highest in 8000,000 years! LOL What could go wrong? Our Grandkids can worry about it!

    Reply this comment
  14. surfcitysocal
    surfcitysocal 8 November, 2013, 12:39

    As a resident of southeast Huntington Beach where the desalinization plant would be located, I can assure you: I don’t want it, and neither do any of my neighbors. I’d like to question why our tone-deaf city council which sticks all the ugly plants, toxic waste dumps, etc. in the city in the southeast area, doesn’t instead put it in Huntington Harbor, and let’s see how that flies.

    Reply this comment
  15. The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit
    The Ted Steele Conceptual Abstraction Unit 8 November, 2013, 14:26

    surfcity— you have good instints— the death of California’s coast has been by 1000 cuts— imagine the giant industrial mess on the beautiful economic engine that is HB’s spotless beach– what a joke.

    Reply this comment
  16. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 December, 2013, 09:58

    The future is water plain and simple.

    The above posts are useless deficient chirps by the usual suspects except Teddy, the voice of reason.

    Urban water usage is very very inefficient. Just installing drip systems where practical will cut potable water usage dramatically.

    Come on Doomer’s where are your water conservation ideas?

    Reply this comment
  17. Hondo
    Hondo 14 December, 2013, 14:52

    I imagine all those surfriders only drink bottled water which is a horrific waste of the oil that is used to make those plastic bottles. Those surfriders were probably horrified to learn that most of those bottles of water they buy at the store were simply filled from a tap with the most minimal of filtration. Right wing Hondo has for years reused his plactic bottles and filled them from the tap. To the horror of the liberals here, I am in the best of health despite my drinking right out of the tap for my entire life.
    Hondo…..

    Reply this comment
  18. Ted Steele DD
    Ted Steele DD 17 December, 2013, 10:17

    Honda– Surfers drink bottled water? You making this stuff up?

    Reply this comment
  19. Ted Steele DD
    Ted Steele DD 17 December, 2013, 10:17

    Honda– Surfers drink bottled water? You making this stuff up?

    Reply this comment

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