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Pro-desal EIR marketing campaign pitches “green boutique” plant, downplays expansion
Paul Gratz
On Tuesday, May 7, the Santa Cruz City Council and Soquel Creek Water Board will hold a 7 PM special study session about the Regional Seawater Desal Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) expected to be released on May 13. Ironically, the pro-desal EIR kick-off coincides with the six month anniversary of the overwhelming passage (72%) of Measure P. The November election vote created a Charter Amendment guaranteeing Santa Cruz City residents the right to vote on the construction of the proposed desal plant in 2014. The grass roots ballot initiative is widely interpreted as an expression of a lack of confidence in politicians to manage the community’s water future. Nevertheless, officials approved $17M through 2013 to investigate, pursue and promote desal, including the EIR preparation and certification. The EIR includes a full-on marketing campaign aimed towards building public acceptance for the controversial regional desal facility. But, proponents insist public funds are used only to conduct unbiased informational and educational outreach activities.

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