The California Coastal Commission Obstructionist Group!


Anybody remotely familiar with California knows that the state has annually been facing unique problems in that Southern California is not self-sustaining when it comes to water. It relies heavily on water supplies from the Colorado River and Northern California. The water from the northern region comes every year from the snow pack in the Sierra’s as well as greater rainfall there. Aqueducts have been carrying water to Southern California for well over fifty years, in addition to bringing water to the central valley where it is needed for agricultural purposes. And so, the people living in California hope every year during the winter months for lots of rain and snow in Northern California so that they can have water all year round. This is a serious matter and the steady growth of the population in Southern California threatens the supply of water in some years and then local governments in this area introduce drastic conservation measures. This is a yearly ritual in that all television stations have their weather reporters bring the California viewers up to date as to the daily rainfall (which is rare). Cumulative rainfall is reported daily to the point that listeners are tuning out. Nevertheless, it is a problem that does not diminish due to the ever-increasing number of people wanting to live in sunny Southern California who expect to use water.

One such community in Northern San Diego County that has seen a significant growth in population is Carlsbad, located about twenty-five miles north of San Diego. The City Council recognized in the early 1980’s that this growth potential existed based on the undeveloped, mostly agrarian land areas. It was projected that the city could grow to 135,000 residents, from 35,490 in 1980. The voters of Carlsbad approved a Growth Management Plan when presented by the civic leaders and the growth in population through development followed smart policies.

In somewhat of a politically unusual measure, the City’s Mayor, Bud Lewis and the City Council were seriously concerned in that the City provides the water for residents/businesses in the community. They asked: Where will the water come from if we triple our population in thirty years? (The City has currently about 100,000 residents) “We should act responsibly and look at alternatives,” they thought and searched for answers. They found one solution to be the ‘Desalination of ocean water’, readily available in the Pacific Ocean. One company to develop such an ocean water desalination plant is Poseidon Resources Corporation, a company based in Stamford, Connecticut with regional offices in California and Texas. After numerous feasibility studies, the City of Carlsbad entered a contract with Poseidon to build a plant producing 50 million gallons of drinking water each day. One condition set by the City was that Poseidon could produce this water without an increase in the current water rates to customers. This requirement was met and the planning continued to complete such a plant by late 2010 or early 2011. This would make Carlsbad essentially drought-proof for the future. The current need for water by the City of Carlsbad is between 20 and 25 million gallon a day. Building a larger facility shows also some farsightedness in that future needs would be easily met.

Enter the permitting process 

According to staff writer Michael Burge’s article written July 29, 2007 in the San Diego Union Tribune, most permits to build this plant have been obtained by the developer but the biggest hurdle is the California Coastal Commission. According to Poseidon Senior Vice President Peter MacLaggan, “the Commission and its staff have been asking the developer to demonstrate the need for the product and the amount proposed”. In response to this, Poseidon has contacted adjoining water district in the North County area of San Diego to commit to the purchase of this water. They have lined up five agencies and have now firm commitments for over 80 percent of the water. Poseidon hopes that this will be helpful when they go before the California Coastal Commission at another hearing set for some time in November.

One has to ask the questions: Who are these people? Do they not know that Southern California has been in a water crisis since they were children? What planet are they living on? Who appointed them to this Commission that has the power to turn down such a plant? What are the qualifications to be appointed to such powerful positions?  It is outrageous to think that this is reality in America! By the way, the Governor of the State, the Senate Rules Committee and the Assembly Speaker appoints the Commissioners. In all, the Commission has 12 voting members and 4 non-voting members. Six of the voting members are “public members,” and six are local elected officials who come from specific coastal districts. Being that the State Senate and Assembly governments is overwhelmingly Liberal, one can already see that their ‘appointments’ are surely members of environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and pursue therefore conservation and no-growth philosophies, contradictory to what is occurring in this part of California.

But to base approvals of additional water source solutions on the basis of need when all of Southern California populations increase by leaps and bounds every year, borders on the extreme, if not outright ignorance! It is in our opinion nearly criminal to have these people on such a powerful Commission making totally absurd statements and setting such ridiculous requirements! Wake up America and face reality. Nonsense like this does not belong in the public domain! 

It would be a good time to look into these types of abuses of power when lives are at stake and reasoned rational is called for.

Hello, can the need for Southern California water be more obvious?

This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation.   It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material.  We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.


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