Monday June 25th marked the final day to submit comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report issued by West Basin for its proposed ocean desalination facility in El Segundo, CA.
The Smarter Water LA Coalition and more than three dozen environmental justice, community, indigenous and environmental organizations as well as green businesses and governmental agencies submitted letters expressing serious misgivings of the project, including:
- Intense energy consumption of the project
- Unknown and excessive financial costs
- Impact to local marine life
- Environmental justice impacts of the proposed plant
- Failure to adequately assess more sustainable alternatives
Environmental justice and indigenous organizations submitted a letter stressing that the project would increase water rates and disproportionately impact low-income populations, noting that the project will effectively result in disadvantaged communities subsidizing affluent communities’ excessive water consumption. In the letter they call upon West Basin to account for the environmental justice impacts of the project’s air quality, greenhouse gas and marine impacts. Read the concerns in their entirety here.
Environmental organizations and green businesses also submitted a letter echoing concerns about the detrimental impacts to ecosystems, noting that–as the most energy intensive and expensive method of meeting our local water supply needs–the project will exacerbate climate change impacts, the burden of which will disproportionately impact the communities least equipped to deal with them. Read the full comment here.
Both letters urge that ocean desalination should be pursued as an option-of-last-resort and call upon West Basin to first exhaust more cost-effective and environmentally-sound options to promote local water self sufficiency.
Letters of concern were also submitted by the California Coastal Commission and the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The Smarter Water LA Coalition and concerned organizations eagerly await West Basin’s response to their concerns and will look to a Final Environmental Impact Report in the coming months. Stay tuned.