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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]


Desalination Plant Trudges Ahead

by The Editors on February 13, 2009

Poseidon Resources seems to be moving ahead like the Frankenstein monster over everything that gets in the way of it’s plans for a desalination plant in our lagoon. Most recently the San Diego Regional Water Quality board gave the company two months to “wrap up conditions of its permit” according to as story in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The board’s executive director, John Robertus, said developer Poseidon Resources had addressed some of the agency’s concerns before Wednesday’s meeting, and the two sides would resolve a list of outstanding issues by the board’s meeting on April 8. . . . The board gave Poseidon a permit in 2006 to discharge effluent from its plant into the ocean, but required a plan to offset fish and other marine life deaths caused by the desalination process. . . . Under a “Marine Life Mitigation Plan,” Poseidon would restore 55 acres of wetlands as nurseries for marine organisms and plants.

We still don’t like it.

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune via Watertech Online]

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Desalination Plant Clears Last Hurdle

by The Editors on August 22, 2008

Today the State Lands Commission voted 3-0 “to approve a lease of state property for a desalination plant in Carlsbad,” according to a story on

Scott Maloni of Poseidon Resources says the company is looking forward to turning seawater into freshwater. “Well we’re done with the permitting process, the five-year process comes to a close. We’ll spend the rest of the year closing construction financing and we expect to break ground the first half of next year.”

Oh, joy. A lagoon full of construction. We can hardly wait.



Desalination Plant Not Carbon Neutral

by The Editors on April 9, 2008


The Voice of San Diego’s Rob Davis weighs in with a story on the Poseidon desalination plant and brings up some good points, namely that the plant will not be carbon neutral nor will it reduce San Diego’s dependency on Northern California water.

Poseidon has not agreed to make the plant carbon neutral, a step that would require the company to zero out the emissions generated by its energy use. Peter MacLaggan, a Poseidon senior vice president, said doing so would render the $300 million project financially infeasible. Instead, Poseidon says the plant will be “net carbon neutral.”


“Poseidon’s proposed project does not ensure a decrease in imported water supplies to the San Diego Region,” a commission staff report states. “Poseidon acknowledges that the State Water Project would continue to pump available water to Southern California users, but then argues that it should still be credited for what would then be a non-existent reduction in emissions.”

Just a couple more things that make us wonder why any of this is worth further damage to the lagoon and of shore sea life?

[Link: Voice of San Diego]


Lawsuits Filed Against Desalination Plant

by The Editors on January 15, 2008

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According to a story in the North County Times (are we quoting them too much these days?) the Surfrider Foundation and the Planning and Conservation League filed lawsuits on Monday January 14, 2008 claiming that “The California Coastal Commission acted illegally when it granted a permit to the proposed $300 million plant despite acknowledging that commissioners needed more information.”

Surfrider representatives say the desalination plant would hurt marine life and Agua Hedionda Lagoon, where the plant would be located, and that Poseidon hasn’t proved otherwise. . . . “The substantive issue of whether they can even mitigate (the harm) is still out there,” said Marco Gonzalez, the lawyer representing the environmental groups.

Of course, Poseidon officials are denying this:

Poseidon Vice President Peter MacLaggan said that over the course of eight years of study, the company has proved the plant will not harm the environment. . . . He said the company is simply working out details with the Coastal Commission and that the suit was without merit. . . . “They’re challenging eight years of environmental research and study by pre-eminent scientists in this field from Scripps that has been reviewed by the various permitting agencies, who all came to the same conclusion — move forward,” MacLaggan said.

We’re happy to see someone standing up to industrialization of the Carlsbadistan environment.

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


Desalination Plant Stalled Again

by The Editors on July 7, 2007

The California Coastal Commission has been on their game lately with Poseidon Resources, the company that wants to put a $300 million desalination plant in on the lagoon near the Encina Power Plant. For the fourth time this year they have rejected the plan saying it is sill “incomplete.”

Commission staff scientist Tom Luster rejected Poseidon’s latest application Tuesday, citing several topics on which he needed more information. Among those were alternative water-intake methods, environmental mitigation measures and the project’s financial feasibility.

While we like the idea of stealing less water from Northern California, it just seems like there must be better places for this than the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. (Click here for all of Carlsbadistan’s desalination plant coverage.)

[Link: San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Carlsbad Desalination Plant Survives

by The Editors on June 20, 2007

070620-Split-Ekj-DesalThe Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper, and other groups recently lost a challenge over a discharge permit for the Carlsbad desalination plant, however, KPBS reporter Ed Joyce says that drinkable sea water in Carlsbad is still a long way off.

The $300 million Carlsbad desalination plant would be the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Poseidon Resources says its plant would convert seawater to 50 million gallons of drinking water a day. The plant uses a reverse osmosis process to remove the salt. The saltier byproduct is then sent back out to the ocean. Environmental groups say the process of sucking in and releasing seawater harms marine life.

We don’t know if we’re $300 million thirsty. Are you?

[Link: KPBS]


RIP: Carlsbad’s Former Mayor Bud Lewis

by The Editors on October 16, 2014

Citizen Of The Year 2009 3-C T352-1Carlsbad’s former mayor Claude “Bud” Lewis died on Wednesday, October 15, 2014, according to announcement on the City of Carlsbad website. He was 83.

Few have done more for the City of Carlsbad than the former Mayor. He served on the Town Council for 40 years (the last 24 of those as Mayor).

“Mayor Lewis embodied the very best of Carlsbad,” said Mayor Matt Hall, who succeeded Lewis in 2010. “He devoted his life to public service and remained committed to the principles of a fair and open local government, accessible to everyone regardless of social or economic status. His values helped shape the city we are today, effectively managing growth to maintain an excellent quality of life, a strong and diverse economy, and an involved citizenry.”

“Mayor Lewis was my teacher first, then my colleague and ultimately my friend,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mark Packard. “He always took the long term view. Whether talking about how to manage growth or address our critical water supply challenges, he laid the groundwork to make sure our city would continue to thrive long after he was gone. That is a sign of a great leader.”

“Mayor Buddy Lewis was a rare politician who won people over while remaining true to himself,” said City Council Member Lorraine Wood, who served as City Clerk during Lewis’ mayoral tenure. “He wasn’t prone to telling people what they wanted to hear, but he told them the truth. He stayed true to the motto that what was right for Carlsbad wasn’t always popular, and what was popular wasn’t always right.”

“Mayor Lewis was a humble man who never forgot his roots,” said Council Member Keith Blackburn. “He was a man of integrity, and he brought that to the office every day, trying to do what was best for Carlsbad, its residents and its businesses.”

“When I served on the Carlsbad Planning Commission, I saw the result of Mayor Lewis’ legacy every day,” said Council Member Michael Schumacher. “He made sure we maintained high standards, and as a result of his hard work he left Carlsbad a better place than he found it.”

Lewis’ wife Beverly (pictured right) died in May of 2011. Our thoughts go out to Mayor Lewis’ family, friends, and the entire city of Carlsbad. For the official word from the City, please follow the jump. [click to continue…]


Carlsbad Without City Manager Again

by The Editors on November 6, 2013

242096 City Hall Snaps - Birds Split MidWith today’s resignation of Carlsbad City Manager John W. Coates, the city is again operating with an interim city manager (Carlsbad Fire Chief Kevin Crawford get to do it this time around) until the City Council can reportedly “develop a strategy for filling the position.”

“John was called to serve at a critical time of transition for our city organization,” said Mayor Matt Hall. “During the past 12 months, he has accomplished an ambitious agenda, leaving us well positioned to continue on our path of becoming a truly world class city.”

Coates was only officially in the position of City Manager for six months so it would seem that Council would still have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for when it comes to a City Manager. Buy why rush things. Might as well put it off until February. For the official word from the City, follow the jump. [click to continue…]


Carlsbad Names Citizens Of The Year

by The Editors on October 5, 2010

CarlsbadcitylogoThe City of Carlsbad handed out its Citizens of the Year Award at a special ceremony this evening and Mayor Claude A. “Bud” Lewis, his wife, Bev Lewis, and longtime community volunteer Doris Lee Ritchie were all recognized.

The Citizen of the Year program is more than 40 years old and honors community members who have given their time and energy toward the civic improvement, beautification and betterment of the City of Carlsbad. This year’s honorees were selected by a four-person committee of Carlsbad residents and recognized during a ceremony at Carlsbad City Hall, just prior to the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

We’d like to say thank you for everything that all of you have done. Follow the jump for all the details.
[click to continue…]