HUNTINGTON BEACH (AP/CBSLA) — Scores of supporters and critics of a proposed $900 million desalination plant for Orange County have packed a meeting of state coastal officials to voice their views on the project.

Waving competing signs, residents attended Wednesday’s meeting of the California Coastal Commission in Newport Beach to consider Poseidon Water’s proposal to build a facility in Huntington Beach to turn ocean water into tap.

Commission members have recommended requiring Poseidon to revamp its design to draw in water from beneath the ocean floor instead of an open intake, which harms marine life.

Environmentalist Joey Racano wants the commission to reject the proposal.

“This isn’t about water. This is about the enshrinement of an ancient 1950s technology called once-through cooling that needs to go into the dust bin of toxic-polluting history,” Racano said.

Alison Dettmer, a Commission deputy director, has likened the project to a large ocean vacuum cleaner.

Poseidon says the proposed changes are a deal killer and Southern California needs reliable sources of drinking water.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. In order to give people an idea on putting a plant in you must also look at the Country of Israel that has a plant using sea water for their people and how do you think our Navy is able to have fresh water on ships and submarines.The ships have also been sent to crisis areas around the world to give fresh water to people.With the past drought in mind you may want to rethink the plant because it is a life line.

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