To Desalinate or Not to Desalinate: UCI Debate Over Controversial Proposed Huntington Beach Plant

Academics, advocates and activists met for a panel discussion at UC Irvine to hash out the pros and cons of a proposal to build a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, with environmentalists once again warning it would damage marine environments and raise water bills. “There is nothing simple about desalination,” said panelist Ray Hiemstra, associate director of Orange County Coastkeeper, an environmental organization focused on water quality. Coastkeeper went to court in November to challenge approval for the project granted in October by the State Lands Commission. Additional approvals still need to be secured for construction to begin.