Poseidon Desal or Bust: OCWD Wants Ratepayers to Pay More to Get Less
February 16, 2020
Note: The Surf City Voice website was destroyed by hackers in December, 2019 and is under reconstruction. This story was first posted July 26, 2018.
By John Earl Surf City Voice
There are lots of more efficient, environmentally safer, and cheaper alternatives to the proposed Poseidon Resources Inc. ocean desalination plant for the ratepayers of the Orange County Water District.
But the Surf City Voice has reported in-depth that pro-Poseidon members of the Orange County Water District Board of Directors have repeatedly blocked attempts by minority board members, staff, and the public to study alternatives to the proposed $1 billion Poseidon project (see links at the end of this article).
An alternatives study would entail showing whether there is a need for the $1 billion project or not–for the purpose of acquiring permits from state agencies and doing due-diligence for the 2.4 million ratepayers living in the district.
The above video, taken at the March 18, 2015, OCWD Board of Directors meeting, shows one example of how the study of Poseidon alternatives has been deliberately avoided.
The board was discussing what would become the first Poseidon/OCWD term sheet (passed in 2015 but revised recently) and guidance for a citizens advisory committee (CAC) that would review and make recommendations to the board about the term sheet.
Director Jan Flory (no longer on the board) argues to allow the citizens’ committee to study alternatives to the Poseidon project, but Directors Stephen Sheldon (former Poseidon consultant) and Cathy Green argue against that.
Green is also upset because she had already picked the CAC in secret and illegal committee meetings. But citizens’ complaints about Green’s bias resulted in a new committee whose members would be appointed by each director.
The new CAC was more balanced but was explicitly prohibited from considering alternatives to the project.
John Earl is the publisher and editor for the Surf City Voice and Poseidon Town. In the late 1980s, he covered local politics for the Huntington Beach News. In 2005, he was a founding member and first president of Residents for Responsible Desal, which he left in 2006 to become editor of the print newspaper, OC Voice.