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Plans to build an ocean desalination plant by West Basin Municipal Water District have been percolating for years.
The past year saw the completion of an Environmental Impact Report for a proposed facility in El Segundo that would generate 20 million gallons of freshwater daily from the salty ocean. Conservationists opposed to the technology say it's too energy intensive, pollutes the air and water, and would sidetrack ongoing water recycling and replenishment goals. The district, meanwhile, says it's a prudent measure to ensure water needs are met in times of droughts or emergencies.
In December, the environmental group LA Waterkeeper filed a lawsuit challenging the board's 4-1 approval of the EIR at a meeting in November.
Despite being an ardent supporter of desalination over the course of her lengthy stint on the water board, Director Carol Kwan voted against the EIR's approval.
The legal action by LA Waterkeeper makes certain the fight to stop the project will likely dominate the years to come. Next steps in El Segundo will occur in the courtroom as lawyers for LA Waterkeeper try to convince a judge the EIR was insufficient.