Objections to Desalination are Shopworn, Discredited Cliches

Anyone who still thinks that the Huntington Beach desalination plant poses a significant threat to the environment should ask themselves: Why would Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who depends on donors that never saw an environmentalist overreach they didn’t like, going out on a limb to support this project?

The reason is simple. Newsom’s talked with all the experts, he’s weighed the costs and benefits, and he supports desalination. An article earlier this week discussing the progress this project has just made towards finally getting built has triggered several in-depth criticisms, which deserve a response. But before all that, consider Exhibit A: Gavin Newsom is fighting to get this plant built.

It’s about time. Nothing gets built anymore in California, thanks to a powerful partnership between environmentalist litigators and anti-tax libertarians. Both of these special interests, both wearing ideological blinders, oppose anything that uses public funds to make so much as a scratch in the ground. From the left and from the right, they’ve combined forces to leave California’s infrastructure in tatters.

Other special interests benefit from this game. Back in a saner, less corrupt era, California’s public infrastructure was often built and maintained out of operating funds. Now bonds are even issued for “deferred maintenance,” i.e., we’re borrowing money just to maintain what we’ve got, and all that money in the state and local government budgets that used to pay for infrastructure is now fed into the insatiable maw called CalPERS, CalSTRS, and the rest of the public employee […] Read More