Archives for category: Water

stop-poseidon-desal-plant

The January 7, 2015 edition of the OC Register contains an editorial advocating purchase of 56,000 acre feet of desalinated water from Poseidon Resources by the Orange County Water District (OCWD). Of course, there is no desalinated water yet to purchase, because Poseidon, despite years of trying to sell OC cities on its enterprise, hasn’t yet managed to build it’s $1 billion desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

Tonight’s meeting of OCWD Directors to begin discussions about a possible purchase should be a perfect opportunity for Fullerton’s representative to the OCWD, Fullerton Councilmember Jan Flory, to point out all that is wrong with Poseidon’s plan to needlessly divert a public resource into private hands. Conservation is a far better strategy for meeting our freshwater needs than an energy-intensive and environmentally destructive desalination plant right in the middle of Southern California’s tourist-friendly coast.

The Register’s conclusion that conservation and reclamation are insufficient methods of meeting the region’s water needs reflects a shortsighted understanding of what is truly needed to address current and future deficiencies in our overall infrastructure.  Water shortages should instead be understood as the natural result of our irresponsibly unlimited growth without the necessary resources to sustain our population and its concomitant development. Indeed, the Register’s perfunctory and wrong-headed reasoning that Poseidon’s desalinated water is necessary for future human population growth only underscores the need for a wholesale change in our relationship to our environment, rather than desperately seeking new ways to dominate it for our own unrestrained expansion.

As John Earl notes on the Surf City Voice website:

“The OCWD, which manages the Santa Ana River groundwater basin, provides about 65 percent of the drinking water for 19 municipal water agencies in central and northern Orange County. Until recently, the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC), which retails imported water to 28 water agencies throughout the county, was the front agency for pushing the Poseidon project.”

Mr. Earl further notes that Poseidon’s customers would be required to purchase all of its water every year, regardless of whether they need it or not—the kind of ocean desal contract that has brought extreme financial hardship for ratepayers in Australia.”

Flory

Since her appointment last year, Fullerton’s Jan Flory has been admirably outspoken in her objections to OCWD members discussing critical issues in subcommittee meetings instead of full board meetings and in her proposal that OCWD’s full meetings be live-streamed for remote viewers.

Ms. Flory should extend her concerns for responsibly representing the ratepayers of Orange County by opposing any deal with Poseidon Resources. We don’t need to be involved in a boondoggle scheme to purchase overpriced desalinated water from a private company when we should instead be focusing on learning to live with the water we have.

Fracking Historial Oil Banner

UPDATE: See below for more information about attending or watching the event.

A program entitled “Symposium on the Impact of Oil Extraction in Orange County” has been scheduled for Tuesday, September 23, 6:00 p.m., at the Titan Student Union, Cal State Fullerton. The stated purpose of the event is to “provide local policy makers and the public objective, impartial information about the environmental impact of oil extraction in north Orange County.”

The symposium comes at a time when many in North OC and elsewhere across the country are rightly concerned about the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and the acidization of oil and natural gas wells by the drilling industry. Both processes utilize chemical mixtures and large amounts of water to loosen and extract deep oil and gas deposits in an attempt to wring the last usable fossil fuels from the earth. The controversial practices have been linked to groundwater contamination by proprietary chemicals and natural gas and to earthquakes.

Documentaries like Split Estate and Gasland have chronicled the damage done to homes and lives near fracking sites in other parts of the country, where water has been so polluted that it’s actually flammable.

The fate of Fullerton's groundwater?

The fate of Fullerton’s groundwater?

Earlier this year Fullerton’s Director of Engineering Don Hoppe deflected concerns about water contamination by stating during a meeting of the City Council that drilling occurs well below the water table, but he evidently did not consider that the old concrete lining well shafts will inevitably crack, leaving the ground around it vulnerable to whatever chemical laden water is left there, years after the drilling activity has ceased.

Fullerton residents are encouraged to attend the symposium on Sept. 23, but keep in mind that no critics of the controversial processes were invited to take part in it as part of the panel.

UPDATE;  Here are details about the event from the organizers, including links to a parking map, instructions for registering for attendance, and how to watch it live at home…

Doors open at 5:30pm and the program will begin at 6:00 pm.

Register:

To guarantee a seat please R.S.V.P. Closing on Friday, September 19th, 5PM.

Audience members are encouraged to submit questions to the panelists. Questions can be submitted in advance via this website, or may be emailed directly to frackingsymp@fullerton.edu.

Parking:

Free parking will be made available in the State College Parking Structure (SCPS) located on State college two blocks north of Nutwood Ave. This structure is the nearest to the TSU and parking opens at 5pm. If the structure is at capacity, you will be redirected to Lot A (see map). You are strongly encouraged to carpool.

http://www.fullerton.edu/campusmap/CampusMap.htm

 Live Video Streaming:

Live video stream available on September 23. http://titancom.fullerton.edu/broadcast/LiveWebTV_comm_flash.html
And with mobile device using the iFullerton app for Android and Apple devices.
This program will be also cablecast live on the Titan channel:
Time Warner Cable channel 15-202 (in Fullerton) and some of the participating cities in Orange County (Check with T.W.C.)
AT&T-Uverse (Southern California) Channel 99/City of Santa Ana/TitanTV Channel CSUF

Fitzgerald-Pringle-Bio

Barely five months into her tenure as Fullerton’s Director on the Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Council member Jennifer Fitzgerald is giving up the hard-fought seat. Her recent acceptance of a VP position with the powerful Orange County public relations and land use firm Pringle & Associates creates a conflict of interest for her because the firm  counts the MWD as one of its many clients.

Described on its website as “a full-service public relations, public affairs and government relations firm,” Pringle & Associates is one of the most powerful non-governmental political forces in Orange County. The firm is headed by former Anaheim Mayor and California State Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle, who also held a seat on the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Ms. Fitzgerald’s employment by the county’s most powerful political lobbying firm should be disquieting for anyone who expects a modicrum of impartiality from an elected official. No one expects a political office holder to live in a vaccuum—strong connections to the community are usually seen as assets—but being direclty employed by a firm that represents industry lobby groups, businesses with multiple locations, and at least two developers can be troubling in the minds of constituents.

Pringle-Client-List

The firm’s own list of “current and former” business clients shows no fewer than a dozen businesses with locations in Fullerton:

Burger King, California Yellow Cab, Carl’s Jr., Chase Bank, Citibank, Coffee Bean, CVS Pharmacy, El Pollo Loco, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Jack in the Box, McDonald’s and Pieology Pizzeria. Any one could be the subject of a land use decision by the City Council.

And then, of course, there is Chevron, also listed as a client. Chevron is owner of Coyote Hills, the land that could become either a wildreness park or a very large mixed use development. Ms. Fitzgerald has maintained support for the latter choice in the past, but a majority of voters disagreed with her in 2012 when they rejected Measure W, temporarily halting the development. How will she be able to act impartially with regard to any decision about the land that might involve the Fullerton City Council?

It remains to be seen how often Jennifer Fitzgerald will need to recuse herself from discussions and decisions, as Council members occasionally do. Meanwhile, she will presumably not even be able to vote on a replacement to the MWD Board, arguably the single most important appointment made by the Fullerton City Council. Pringle & Associates also lists other water agencies on its client list.*

*An earlier version of this post stated that Pringle & Associates had the Orange County Water District as a client. The Rag regrets the error.

 

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