Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Across the oceans, the desal battle goes on

John from the Bass Coast Boardriders Club has sent me a letter all the way from Orange County, USA. And no, it is not from those pesky housewives. It is from Merle Moshini who is the President of the Residents for Responsible Desalination in Huntington Beach, California. I will let Merle speak for herself through her email to John:

And here we thought we were the voice in the wilderness! Our grassroots organization in Huntington Beach, CA. is fighting the proposed building of an ocean desal plant in our city. Poseidon Resources (one of its many names) will connect with an aging and monstrous power generator to build a once thru cooling desal plant if it succeeds. This group touts their aging technology and energy guzzling idea as the best thing since sliced bread, meanwhile capitalizing on frenzy mentality regarding our "drought". It is criminal and the press is having a field day with it.
Our current members of the Calif. Coastal Commission, whose mission is to protect the coast FOR the people of California, is made up of appointees who have never seen a bad batch of blacktop.
All we hear until recently, is how great desalination is going in Australia. No mention of costs, to rate payers or the environment, or alternatives. We, too, believe there is a better way, i.e. reclamation, recycling, & conservation, BEFORE desalination is injected into the picture.
We have strong allies in the Surfrider Foundation, Food & Water Watch, and Environment Now, and the California Coast Keeper. We hope to enlist the NRDC.
I hope to hear from you and fight on!

I find it wonderful to look beyond the horizons of one's own involvement, one's own community. It clears away the cobwebs to look outward to concerns from other places, to see how other people approach similar concerns, to form linkages and connections. Here is John's response:

Hi Merle,
Great to hear from you.
Yes its amazing that there are all these groups fighting for justice when it comes to a fair go in terms of water.
Australia has seen a proliferation of this technology with a number of state governments cynically pushing the plants forward in between elections thus attempting to avoid voter backlash.
It's been a steep learning curve for us as we have been behind the eight ball battling for two years a decision by the state government itself to build a plant and our time is running out - contracts will be signed in one or two months and then the process will be unstoppable.
However having said that, if any plant any in the deserved to be stopped, it this one. Due to this fact we've been able to put forward strong good ideas and arguments.
There have been some good national water networks starting to form and we have also developed a pretty good skill base of knowledge in issue as we can see that this is going to be on ongoing issue for people who love the ocean and value justice in water policy and are concerned about the right choices being made wrt. to stopping climate change free of corporate interference.
For my part if you think need any information that I can help with please let me know.
I'll forward this on to other "doers".

John Gemmill

Can we do a big hats off to Merle and John. These are the people who are backbones of our communities - or can I use that 'big' word - society. These are people who, going around their ordinary daily lives, have been able to look at the large picture: people, species, planet. They look at where we live and how we live and ask can we continue like this. Please give them and their projects your whole-hearted support. You won't regret it. That's a Miss Eagle promise.


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