Poseidon Desal or Bust: OCWD Wants Ratepayers to Pay More to Get Less

The OCWD Board of Directors prevent consideration of alternatives to the proposed Poseidon ocean desalination plant.

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.

Director Sheldon, at the March 18, 2015, BOD meeting: always blocking alternatives. Photo: Surf City Voice

Instead of studying the Poseidon project alternatives, as the board voted to do and as staff repeatedly promised, the Poseidon majority on the board (Directors Cathy Green, Shawn Dewane, Stephen Sheldon, Denis Bilodeau and Vicente Sarmiento) has publicly and secretly pushed the project full-steam-ahead while avoiding alternatives.

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.

Related stories:

Municipal Water District Will Study Poseidon Desal Alternatives (but the OCWD will not)

Subsidized $1 Billion Desal Plant Pushed by Water Board that Ignores Cheaper Alternatives

Water Board Blocks Study of Alternatives to $1 Billion Desal Plant – Misleads State Commission ‘Sucking it Up’ Will Lower Costs for Ratepayers and Help Fill the Basin

The Ideological War Behind Poseidon’s Proposed Desalination Plant

Conservation Vs. Ocean Desalination: Pro-Desal Director Pushes False Conservation Stats

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