After hearing hours of heated debate, the California Coastal Commission voted against a controversial plan by the company Poseidon Water to build a huge desalination plant in Huntington Beach.
Despite worsening drought and repeated calls from Gov. Gavin Newsom to tap the Pacific Ocean as a source of drinking water, commissioners voted unanimously against the plan Thursday night. The decision, which was recommended by commission staff, may end the company’s plans for the $1.4-billion plant.
In denying Poseidon a permit, the commission demonstrated its independence from the Newsom administration and also sent the message that high costs, vocal opposition and hazards such as sea-level rise can present major hurdles for large desalination plants on the California coast.