Here is the chronological list of lawsuits that have been filed against the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Project. Between 2006 and 2018, six legal challenges – two lawsuits and four administrative permit appeals – were filed against the Huntington Beach desalination project by opponents of seawater desalination.
Legal Challenge #1: November 2005 – Surfrider Foundation Huntington-Seal Beach Chapter and Sierra Club Angeles Chapter v. City of Huntington Beach (Case No. 06CC00063). Petitioners filed a lawsuit challenging the City of Huntington Beach’s September 6, 2005 approval of the project and its certification as lead agency of the Environmental Impact Report for the project under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). On January 5, 2007, the California Superior Court rejected the appeal of the certified Re-circulated Environmental Impact Report (REIR).
Legal Challenge #2: March 2006 – Surfrider Foundation, Orange County Chapter of Coastkeeper and Residents for Responsible Desal (R4D4) appeal the City of Huntington Beach’s February 27, 2006 approval of the project’s Coastal Development Permit (CDP 02-05). The Commission accepted the appeal and the permit was stayed.
Legal Challenge #3: September 2006 – Surfrider Foundation and Orange County Chapter of Coastkeeper filed a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board appealing the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board’s August 25, 2006 approval of Order No. R8-2006-0034 [NPDES CA8000403]. On August 28, 2007 the State Board denied the appeal ruling that it “failed to raise substantial issues.”
Legal Challenge #4: October 4, 2010 – Surfrider Foundation, Orange County Chapter of Coastkeeper and Residents for Responsible Desal (R4D4) appeal the City of Huntington Beach’s September 2010 approval of the project’s Coastal Development Permit (CDP 10-014), which replaced the previously appealed CDP 02-05. On November 17, 2010, the Commission accepted the appeal and the permit is stayed.
Legal Challenge #5: March 12, 2012 – Surfrider Foundation, Residents for Responsible Desalination (R4D4), Orange County Coastkeeper and Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation (CERF) file a petition with the State Water Resources Control Board appealing the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board’s February 10, 2012 approval of Order No. R8-2012-0007 [NPDES CA8000403]. The petition was not filed in a timely manner within the 30-day period required by statute, and there was never any confirmation from State Board that the Petition was accepted. On July 31, 2015 – over three years after filing the petition during which no action was taken by the State Water Board – the appellants formally withdrew their petition.
Legal Challenge #6: November 17, 2017 – California Coastkeeper Alliance, California Coastal Protection Network and Orange County Coastkeeper file a petition with the California Superior Court Sacramento County challenging the California State Lands Commission’s October 19, 2017 approval of the Huntington Beach project’s lease amendment.
(No. 1980.1) and certification of the project’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) evaluating the technology enhancements proposed by Poseidon in order to comply with the requirements of the State Water Board’s Ocean Plan Amendment pertaining to desalination facilities. On January 8, 2019, California Superior Court Judge Richard Sueyoshi denied the lawsuit.
For a listing all of the lawsuits filed against both desalination projects in Orange and San Diego County, download our Chronology of Legal Challenges pdf.
“Desalination must be included in any discussion of future water sources for Orange County."