For Immediate Release
Friday, February 11, 2022
Lucila Garcia, 323-646-2150 (English, Español)
Betsy López-Wagner, 708-717-9408
The Stop Poseidon Coalition Unveils a Virtual Reality Simulation Depicting Would-Be Effects of Sea Level Rise and Tsunami at Proposed Poseidon Desalination Plant Location
The Interactive Virtual Reality (VR) Experience, released during Friday’s California Coastal Commission Hearing, Points to a Catastrophic Environmental Disaster for Communities, Infrastructure if Approved
LOS ANGELES, CA (February 11, 2022) – The Stop Poseidon coalition which includes Azul, the California Coastal Protection Network, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sunrise Movement, California Coastkeeper Alliance and the Surfrider Foundation, unveiled a science-based virtual simulation today before the California Coastal Commission depicting the grave dangers of permitting the Brookfield-Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant.
The film and accompanying simulations technology tools, designed utilizing existing scientific data and modeling, were developed by independent scientists at Virtual Planet, an entity known for its immersive solutions to communicate climate change through virtual reality to advise agencies, local governments and the public in sea level rise planning.
The now-publicly available tools show the catastrophic impact extreme weather, and the climate crisis will have on the proposed location of the Brookfield-Poseidon desalination plant and city-at-large within the next 20 to 50 years. They can be viewed, here.
“Our coalition, consisting of environmental justice, coastal, and ocean conservation advocates, urges the California Coastal Commission to carefully weigh their upcoming March 17th permitting decision and further, to unanimously block this project altogether,” said Susan Jordan, Executive Director of the California Coastal Protection Network. “Approval would undoubtedly have detrimental impacts on the surrounding coastal communities and infrastructure, especially when paired with sea level rise as shown in these now-publicly available virtual simulations that utilize emerging technology to depict what a flat map cannot.”
The Brookfield-Poseidon Huntington Beach Desalination Plant, proposed by $650 billion for-profit, foreign-based Brookfield Asset Management and its subsidiary, Poseidon Water, continues to seek permits to withdraw 107 million gallons out of the Pacific ocean every day for the next 50 years — accelerating a host of environmental injustices while killing marine life upon intake and discharge and raising water rates for residents.
The plant would utilize decade’s old technology to deliver water and would be located next to the AES Huntington Beach plant, formerly known as Applied Energy Services, a gas-fired power station that backs up to Huntington Beach State Park, and is adjacent to the Ascon toxic dump, a 38-acre Superfund site. Superfund sites contain hazardous waste and are some of the dirtiest, most polluted locations that are listed on National Priority Lists, requiring long-term clean up and remediation responses.
The coalition also debuted the simulations for press during a closed event Thursday.
For more information and to experience the simulations and related tools, visit California Desal Facts.
ABOUT THE SIMULATIONS & FILM
The images and simulations are based on the best available science – including CoSMoS 3.0 sea-level rise projections developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that have been previously used in multiple studies in this area. Virtual Planet’s work was commissioned by the California Coastal Protection Network. The views or opinions expressed during the film do not necessarily represent those of Virtual Planet Technologies or its employees.
Another critical step for Brookfield-Poseidon to obtain the resources for the unnecessary plant lies in its ability to secure public bonds from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC). The private entity is trying to secure $1.1B in tax exempt bonds to fund the project and other public subsidies. These CDLAC bonds come from a pool of dollars explicitly intended for affordable housing.
The Stop Poseidon coalition released a January 19 statement urging the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee (CDLAC) to reject all requested funding to Brookfield Poseidon. The Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have both agreed that CDLAC should not award Brookfield Poseidon with public funds intended for affordable housing. While CDLAC theoretically limited the amount of Brookfield Poseidon could obtain via the exempt facilities pool, a final decision will not be made until the Spring when private activity bond allocations for specific projects are finalized.
In December 2021, CDLAC conducted a meeting to discuss allocating funds per designated ‘pools’ such as affordable housing, exempt facilities, and infrastructure. The Stop Poseidon coalition testified in opposition to the $1.1B in bonds Poseidon seeks to gain from the exempt facilities pool and which would have significantly reduced the total pool available for affordable housing projects across the state by roughly 25 percent.
In the fall of 2021, the California Coastkeeper Alliance and Orange County Coastkeeper filed a lawsuit against the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board for failing to adhere to the state’s Ocean Desalination Policy requirements when it authorized the construction of the Huntington Beach Desalination Plant in April.
ABOUT THE STOP POSEIDON COALITION
Azul is a grassroots organization working with Latinx communities to conserve coasts and oceans. It was founded in 2011 to bring Latinx perspectives and participation to ocean conservation and has long advocated for environmental justice and equity in the state of California, across the nation and at international levels.
California Coastkeeper Alliance represents watershed-focused California Waterkeepers as they fight for drinkable, swimmable, fishable waters for all Californians. It defends and expands California’s protective legislation and strengthens the function of our State Water Board.
California Coastal Protection Network (CCPN) works to uphold the core tenets of the California Coastal Act actively and effectively through policy, advocacy, and collaboration with local communities. CCPN accomplishes its mission by providing strong leadership to advance California’s 40-year legacy of coastal protection.
Orange County Coastkeeper was founded in 1999 with the mission to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable for present and future generations.
The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.