Lawsuit seeks stop to Cambria desalination plan

Heavy equipment should not be allowed on a Cambria beach to drill wells until plans for the desalination-related testing go through the standard state environmental review process, according to a suit filed July 6 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

LandWatch San Luis Obispo County’s 41-page filing asks the court to order the Cambria Community Services District, San Luis Obispo County and the California Coastal Commission to go through the coastal development permit process in accordance with the county’s Local Coastal Program and the California Environmental Quality Act.

The Army Corps of Engineers is managing plans for testing to determine if the geology under the beach by Shamel Park and the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek will accommodate intake and discharge systems for a proposed desalination plant.

Since it’s a federal agency, the Corps notified the Coastal Commission that it would be proceeding under federal environmental regulations for the testing project, a determination accepted by the Commission, with some added conditions, at a meeting May 13.

The suit asks the court to issue an injunction to protect public safety and the environment. The filing represents only one side of the case.

— Bert Etling