De-desalination: Greens oppose Calif. plans

July 9, 2009

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Early next year, the Southern California town of Carlsbad will break ground on a plant that each day will turn 50 million gallons of seawater into fresh drinking water…

Government agencies have opposed desalination because of the process’s energy consumption. The desalination plant would use nearly twice as much energy as a wastewater-treatment plant available in Orange County. Environmental groups also object because fish and other organisms are likely to be sucked into the facility.

Eventually, people will have to realize, it’s either fish or children,” Mr. Lewis said…

Officials in Carlsbad began discussing desalination in 1998 and planned to open the plant this year. But opposition was fierce.

The Surfrider Foundation and San Diego Coastkeeper — two local environmental groups — argue the plant would be disastrous for marine life, “killing everything that floats” near the plant’s intake, said Surfrider’s Joe Geever.

The permitting process continued for six years, and included 14 public hearings that ran a total of 170 hours and included five revisions to the plan…

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