Re: Poseidon’s Desalination Plant in Orange County: Protector of all Seafarers (June 29-July 12 issue)
Opposition to the desalination plant
I believe the desalination plant, if built will allow future in-fill development. I oppose the Project for this reason. The Project will not accomplish its stated purpose.
Certain types of in-fill development including high density and affordable housing projects are currently permitted by state laws without discretionary approval from local governments (cities), or a local government’s discretionary authority has been severely limited by these bills. In 2017 the State enacted 20 housing related bills. The stated goal was to help meet the state’s existing housing shortage and make housing more affordable. These bills promote development of new high density and affordably prices housing projects in in-fill areas. In order to make these projects economically feasible these bills give this project a break. They are provided streamlined permitting and are not required to fully mitigate for their adverse impacts on existing infrastructure (roads, storm drains, etc.), let alone their adverse impact to the quality of life affecting the residents in affected communities. These State housing bills are another form subsidy/taxation impacting the middle class. One example being AB 2299 (enacted in 2017) which authorizes the potential construction of approximately 8 million Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) statewide, or the potential for an estimated 10,000 ADUs in the city of Newport Beach, subject only to issuance of a building permit (a non-discretionary action).
The O.C. Water District denies the Poseidon Project will have a growth inducing impact saying the Project will only recharge and help manage the groundwater basins. The OCWD says local water agencies will address any growth inducing impacts as they take water from these groundwater basins. I believe this is wrong and that this position fails to fully inform the public of the effects of the Project. For this reason, I oppose the Project. However, if the OCWD conditions the Project to require water treated by the Project not to be used for new development, I will support the Project. Southern California’s ground water basins are underground storage reservoirs. They are in an overdraft condition. Southern Californians pumps out more groundwater than is naturally replaced and recharged by man. Drought conditions increase this in-balance decreasing the amount of water stored in these underground reservoirs. Southern California needs to be protected against drought cycles.
For years it was widely said that without new water supplies California’s population cannot continue to grow. The State’s recent housing related bills invalidate this belief. The State legislature is committed to find ways to provide housing to meet the projected population increase in southern California.
If approved, the water from the Project will be used for new development. Additional water conservation rules will be imposed (one example being AB 1668). I think this is the message that needs to be heard.
David Tanner, President, Environmental & Regulatory Specialists, Inc.
Re: “In-Danger” designation for vaquita habitat could be delayed (June 15-28 issue)
A bleak future for the vaquita and totoaba
Since we know that the taking of the toboaba fish in the Gulf of Mexico is causing the inevitable extinction of the vaquita Porpoise, I thought we should consider how many are being taken yearly. This would give us an understanding of the size of the problem. The number of fish tells us how many boats are out there and more specifically, the number of the 2-kilometer-long nets that are being cast.
The totoaba bladder is what is commonly referred to as the valued prize. CNN reports that the black-market operation of totoaba bladders is estimated to be a multibillion dollar industry. The recent confiscation of 200 bladders was valued at 3.6 million or $18,000 each. Other reports state the value as $20,000 per kilogram, which we will use as a conservative weight of one bladder. Divide 19,000 (average) into 2 billion and we get $105,000 bladders needed. Now let’s factor in the Mexican cartels. On May 5, 2018 Laura Elena Aguayo from The Voice of the Boarder described the confiscation of 229 bladders filled with 100 kilos of cocaine. The cocaine was valued at 7.5 million. As before, we divide bladders to get value (7.4 mil/ 229) or $32,751each. Now we add them together for a drug filled value of $51,750. Dividing that number by the estimated international trade value of 2 billion we get a much lower estimate of 38,647. This conservative number of contraband laded totoaba fish caught yearly to maintain a 2 billion yearly trade requires a lot of fishing. Now that the brackish water along the Colorado River Delta, in which they mature, is high in salinity, the future of the vaquita and the totoaba are bleak.
Tony Brunn, Sea of Companions, LLC