Coastal Commission Okays Desalination Plant

by The Editors on November 4, 2009

DescriptionWe keep hearing it referred to as the “last hurdle” and we’re saddened that Poseidon Resources has made it this far, but the California Coastal Commission finally granted a permit that will allow the company to build the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere in our lagoon, according to a Michael Burge story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

With the Coastal Commission permit in hand, Poseidon has met all its regulatory requirements — two years after the Coastal Commission conditionally approved the plant. Poseidon had to satisfy 17 permit requirements before it could begin construction. . . . Peter MacLaggan, Poseidon Resources’ senior vice president, said the coastal permit requires that construction begin in less than two weeks. He said the company next week will start clearing the site, on the grounds of the Encina Power Station on the south shore of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

Now all Poseidon needs is the money to build the plant. They’ need $530 million in financing, $50 million of it from a bond they’re asking the State of California for, according to a story in the North County Times.

State revenue bonds are tax-exempt, which typically allows them to sell for a lower interest rate than for taxable bonds. This lowers the cost for those repaying the bonds; in this case, the local water agencies the desalination plant will serve.

The company is also asking for a $250 per acre foot subsidy from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (which, according to Food & Water Watch could add up to $14 million a year). Nothing like launching a private business on federal and state subsidies, huh?

For more on some of the reason this plant might not be a good idea, click here for the word from Food & Water Watch.

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune and North County Times]

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