Request to revoke permit for desal plant denied

Environmental groups lost a round when the California Coastal Commission Thursday voted to dismiss their request to revoke the coastal development permit for a desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad.

The Coastal Commission voted 9-3 during its meeting San Francisco to deny the revocation request by San Diego Coastkeeper, the Surfrider Foundation and the Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation.

“We appreciate the Coastal Commission’s decisive action today,” Scott Maloni, vice president of Poseidon Resources, the project’s developer, said in a statement.

“It is clear from the public record that the opponents’ claims are frivolous, and by rejecting the revocation request the commission has once again exposed the opponents’ obstructionist tactics,” Maloni said. “We urge project opponents to put an end to their senseless and meritless attack on a desperately needed new water supply project that has repeatedly passed every environmental and regulatory test.”

The environmental groups had argued that in obtaining the coastal development permit Poseidon had withheld or misstated information about the desalination plant’s impact on the environment.

Two lawsuits attempting to halt the project have also been unsuccessful.

Poseidon received the permit from the Coastal Commission to start construction in November. The commission approved the overall project in November 2007, and the plant’s environmental mitigation plan in August of last year.

When it is completed in 2012, the plant will be capable of producing 50 million gallons of drinking water a day, enough to meet the needs of about 300,000 residents.