Monterey Bay desalination project is approved despite environmental injustice concerns
As the United States debates whether to send $30 million worth of American taxpayer dollars to build and operate a desalination plant and energy plant on an island in the Pacific, New Yorkers are outraged.
The state of Vermont, which is to be the lead agency for the Project, is even more outraged.
The project, which has been on the table for nine years and is being funded with $17.5 million in taxpayer dollars, will desalinate water for drinking and irrigation, provide power from onshore wind and solar-generated electricity, with the surplus going to the plant’s wastewater treatment facility.
Even the governor of California, who has taken a more hands-off approach to its energy issues, released a statement earlier this week, calling the project “an insult to California’s environment and residents,” as well as “a step toward renewable energy domination in the Western United States.”
But the project, which could impact the lives and livelihoods of about 815 residents on San Miguel Island, is hardly the model for responsible development and the environmental protection the state claims to be committed to.
The state is aware that the project is located on an island, but it is not clear what the impact on the ocean and wildlife would be. In fact, the project does nothing to address, much less mitigate, the impact that the plant is set to have on the coastal waters, fisheries, plants, animals, and wildlife on the island.
In fact, the project will generate the potential for devastating pollution.
“The project will not work to improve coastal habitat because it does not have, nor will it ever support, sustainable production of fish and shellfishes in the San Miguel estuary ecosystem,” said Bill Van Auken, who works for the Monterey Bay Estuary Institute in Monterey, Calif., and has been a vocal protestist against the project.
Van Auken said in an article in the Union of Concerned Scientists blog last week: “The project will not work even as a partial solution to the environmental damage the project is certain to cause.”
He is referring to the fact that the Monterey Bay desalination plant is located on San Miguel, a part of the continental