For Immediate Release
Friday, April 8, 2022
Media Contacts
Lucila Garcia323-646-2150 (English, Español)
Betsy López-Wagner, 708-717-9408

Brookfield-Poseidon Desalination Plant Won’t Bring Economic Justice to Huntington Beach, Groups tell California Coastal Commission in Formal Letter

The letter sent to Commissioners today is the latest in a series of formal pleas by the environmental justice and climate groups to ensure environmental and economic justice in Huntington Beach, especially for low income and communities of color. 

LOS ANGELES, CA (April 8, 2022) – Orange County  groups, alongside state and national environmental groups, are raising the alarm on inflated employment claims made by Brookfield-Poseidon about its proposed plant in Huntington Beach. In a letter sent Thursday, the groups are jointly asking the California Coastal Commission to consider the deceptive practices, along with a multitude of other issues with the proposed Huntington Beach Desalination Plant as reasons to deny Brookfield-Poseidon’s coastal development permits.

On May 12th, the California Coastal Commission is set to hear a proposal by $650 billion-dollar private Brookfield Asset Management and its subsidiary, Poseidon Water, to bring an unnecessary and expensive desalination plant to Huntington Beach next to state superfund site, known to be one of the dirtiest and most polluted sites in the nation.

In a letter sent to the Commission on Thursday morning, Azul, Society of Native Nations, Idle No More So Cal, Sierra Club Los Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club CA, Sierra Club San Diego Chapter, Oak View ComUnidad, Sunrise OC, Orange County Environmental Justice, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, Residents for Responsible Desalination, Surfrider Foundation, Desal Response Group and the Southern California Watershed Alliance implored the California Coastal Commission to advance public interest as they consider whether to approve the project, or deny it.

“Brookfield-Poseidon has made assertions that its project will create around 3,000 jobs for Huntington Beach residents, however, they admit that only 1% of that number will be permanent occupations and even fewer would be locally sourced,” the letter reads.

It specifies, “Brookfield-Poseidon’s erroneous job claims do not consider the jobs lost due to another toxic industrial facility being permitted to operate in North OC. However, this flight of jobs and capital need not happen if Brookfield-Poseidon’s coastal development permit applications are denied, and other water conservation efforts and strategies are pursued instead.”

According to Andrea Leon-Grossmann, Director of Climate Action of Azul, “Brookfield-Poseidon is consistently inconsistent about the number of jobs the proposed desalination plant would create, in some accounts they claim it will create thousands of jobs — but, in reality it could create as few as 18 permanent full time jobs. Seeking $2 billion in public money for a private foreign entity to make money on the backs of ratepayers and sell false promises about everything from total jobs to the cost of the water is unjust. There are smart and affordable alternatives to seawater desalination – we’re asking the California Coastal Commission to nix this project once and for all.”

“Environmental justice in Orange County is dependent on sustainable solutions that prioritize the wellbeing and futures of frontline communities – namely, low-income Black communities, indigenous communities, and communities of color – while caring for and healing the water, land, and air these communities depend on,” said Patricia J. Flores Yrarrázaval, Project Director, Orange County Environmental Justice. “Not only is the proposed Poseidon desalination plant harmful for Huntington Beach and the surrounding ocean, but it doesn’t create as many jobs as Brookfield-Poseidon has claimed. Our frontline communities, and workers in particular, deserve better careers that create sustainable solutions for our water crisis, rather than put them and the ocean in harm’s way. We should be focused on creating jobs in water conservation and water protection that are less destructive and less costly than desalination.”

The letter is the latest in a series of formal pleas by the groups to ensure environmental and economic justice in Huntington Beach, especially for low income and communities of color. Read the other letters here.

Additional background: The proposed Brookfield-Poseidon plant would be highly susceptible to sea-level rise and flooding, as the coalition unveiled on February 11th in a science-based virtual simulation, available here. It depicts the grave dangers of permitting the Brookfield-Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant as extreme weather and the climate crisis will affect the plant’s proposed location and city-at-large within the next 20 to 50 years.

 For more information, please visit the California Desal Facts website.