Monterey Bay desalination project is approved despite environmental injustice concerns.
A new wave of lawsuits has been launched against the California Department of Water Resources for its role in approving a controversial, nearly 1,000-mile long desalination project that will pump treated wastewater from a central California water treatment plant into the vast Pacific Ocean.
The project has been under constant scrutiny by activists, scientists and politicians who contend the massive ocean desalination project will cause massive damage to wildlife, the environment and public health due to the runoff of treated wastewater. The project was approved by the California Coastal Commission and the Department of Water Resources in 2012 after it was awarded a $2.5 billion grant by the U.S. Department of Energy under the California Clean Water Act.
At a recent public forum in Monterey, California, a coalition of environmentalists, water rights and desalination opponents joined forces to present their case, pointing out that there are over 1,000 miles of coastline in California that could be susceptible to damage from the proposed water desalination project.
The Monterey Bay desalination project, which will take up to two years to complete but could be completed within four months, has been the focus of attention in the Monterey Bay watershed since it was first proposed in 2007 to protect California’s coastal areas from ocean and agricultural run off. The project will reportedly require the use of 1,000 large oil tankers and 600 smaller tug boats to move water from the coast.
With all the controversy over the proposed desalination project, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s (MBARI) staff were able to take the time to speak with the staff members representing the environmental justice community about the pros and cons of the project, and how they felt the project would benefit Monterey Bay and the environment.
MBARI’s senior scientist in the environmental justice community, Barbara Ewald, spoke on behalf of the environmental justice community during the forum, saying that “Monterey Bay is a community that has historically struggled with environmental racism and with environmental injustice.”
Ewald pointed to