California regulators have rejected a billion-dollar plant that would convert seawater to drinking water.
The California Coastal Commission rejected the $1.4 billion Poseidon Water desalination plant proposal - had the proposal gotten the green light, it would have turned seawater from the shores of Orange County into drinking water. The project aimed to take about 107 million gallons of seawater to produce 50 million gallons of drinking water. Governor Gavin Newsom was among the supporters for the plan, and Steve Sheldon, president of the Orange County Water District, said the plant would make the county "drought resilient." "California continues to face a punishing drought, with no end in sight," a statement issued by Poseidon Water said. "Every day, we see new calls for conservation as reservoir levels drop to dangerous lows. We firmly believe that this desalination project would have created a sustainable, drought-tolerant source of water."
Leading up to the vote, opponents shared concerns over environmental conservation, marine life, and also the rise in water bills. "The project would kill marine life in about 275 million gallons of seawater per day," Tom Luster, the commission's desalination expert, told the panel on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.