"SALINAS, Calif. — In a decision that sheds harsh light on the state’s commitment to environmental justice amid growing drought anxiety, the California Coastal Commission has granted conditional approval to a controversial Monterey Bay desalination project that even the commission’s own staff said would unfairly burden a historically underserved community.
“This is a really, really tough decision,” Commission Chair Donne Brownsey said during a heated 13-hour hearing Thursday. “I, like most of the commissioners up here, struggled with this. But I read everything … I talked to everybody ... and I feel like this is the right place to land.”
California American Water, an investor-owned utility, has proposed building a more than $330-million desalination project on a former sand-mining site in Marina, a small city where one-third of the community is low-income and many speak little English. The plant would convert as much as 6.4 million gallons of oceanwater to drinking water per day that would then be piped to neighboring cities and businesses."