The evening before the Coastal Commission’s long-awaited hearing on CalAm’s proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project, CalAm has pulled its coastal development permit applications and requested that the special hearing be cancelled.
In response, City of Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado stated: “We know that the Coastal Commission was examining this project based on issues of enormous importance to Californians – environmental justice, water use, habitat protection, sea level rise and public access to the coast. It was obvious that the proposed groundwater extraction and desalination project is fatally flawed because of unacceptable impacts in these areas. We are pleased that CalAm has recognized this reality and withdrawn their applications so that the Monterey region can now move forward quickly and coalesce around a more immediate, affordable, and environmentally acceptable water supply solution with the expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project.”
Coastal Commission staff had recommended denial of CalAm’s project permits in November 2019, and after ten months of additional research and analysis, once again recommended permit denial to the Commission this month.
“The City of Marina cares deeply about this issue – we are strong stewards of the environment. Our city government takes this responsibility very seriously, and we want to ensure that any development within our city boundaries and on our coastline is environmentally sound, economically warranted, and socially just,” said Marina Vice Mayor Gail Morton.
The City of Marina expressed appreciation for the careful work by Coastal Commission Staff to closely examine the many areas of impact from CalAm’s project.
Any approval of CalAm’s Project would require an “override” of Coastal Act and Marina Local Coastal Program policies, and such an override requires a finding that there is no feasible alternative, that the project is needed for the public welfare, and that environmental effects are mitigated to the maximum extent feasible. CalAm’s project did not meet any of those three criteria.