On April 15 the Fullerton City Council will review the city’s Legislative Platform, which determines the City Council’s “position on legislative issues that have the potential to directly or indirectly impact the City of Fullerton.” The Legislative Platform is essentially a handbook for the city’s lobbyist in Sacramento. It is also sent to state and federal representatives to give direction on legislation. The item was was continued from the February 4th meeting for more careful consideration.
There are several areas of concern left unresolved in the current platform. The staff report asks for direction on some of them, including ocean desalination, a technology that separates salts from ocean water to provide potable water. Ocean desalination has been touted as a solution to California’s ever-present water crisis, but it’s detractors, who include the Sierra Club, the DeSal Response Group and Orange County Coastkeeper, claim that it is too expensive, energy intensive, environmentally destructive, and ultimately impractical for anything other than a population with no other options or unlimited energy supplies.
In past years members of the public have objected to any position by the Fullerton City Council in support of water desalination plants like the one planned for Huntington Beach by Poseidon Water. The plant’s designers have peddled it to Orange County cities for the past decade in an effort to win pledges to buy water from it. Although prior platform language supporting desalination as a viable water source was softened to a position of “Monitor(ing) water desalination technologies,” last year, it could easily be changed back to a stronger statement that would strengthen Fullerton’s support for projects like the Poseidon’s Huntington Beach disaster, and even encourage the planning of additional facilities.
The current language could be considered tepid enough, but it should be amended to reflect a position against any desalination plants because there are none planned at this point in time that can deliver any benefit to the ratepayers of the city. Fullerton residents should be particularly watchful of changes to the language that might come our new representatives to the boards of the the Metropolitan Water District and the Orange County Water District.
Next: Fullerton’s Legislative Platform 2, Council Elections by District