California Coastkeeper Alliance accomplished a lot for clean water in 2022 – successfully wrapping up years-long projects like the fight against a harmful desalination plant on the Orange County coast, and initiating new laws like the ‘Clean Water for All’ bill that will address the disproportionate effect of water pollution on communities of color. As we head into another challenging water year in California, we are taking a moment to reflect on our top 10 achievements over the past year:
- Stopped the Poseidon-Huntington Beach Ocean Desalination Project. The Poseidon Project proposed using antiquated technology that would kill marine life; create a toxic plume from excess salinity; and be the most energy-intensive, expensive water in Southern California that was neither needed nor wanted by residents.
- Launched the new Monterey Waterkeeper organization by hiring Executive Director, Chelsea Tu. Chelsea brings grassroots, community focus to the organization while continuing the Waterkeepers’ work to protect and restore fishable, swimmable, and drinkable waters within the Monterey Region and along California’s Central Coast for all to enjoy.
- Obtained a moratorium on processing and issuing groundwater well permits in Sonoma County. The County will spend the 6-month moratorium working to develop a science-based ordinance that establishes real criteria and standards to ensure progress toward sustainable groundwater use that protects public trust resources in Sonoma County and the Russian River watershed.
- Enacted ‘Clean Water for All’ legislation (Assembly Bill 2108) into law. The new law requires the state to evaluate and mitigate the disproportionate impacts that California’s water policies and permits have on communities of color.
- Obtained key water quality protections in the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Stormwater Permit. Caltrans’ new water quality protections will prevent chemical and trash pollution from flowing off of California’s roads and into our rivers and streams when it rains and will prohibit polluted runoff into our state’s protected marine ecosystems along coastal highways.
- Enacted Senate Bill 891 into law to ensure all potential industrial polluters obtain stormwater permit coverage. The new law requiresindustrial facilities that could cause hazardous water pollution when it rains to obtain a Clean Water Act permit before they are issued a business certificate by a city or county. The requirement will prevent thousands of companies from skirting the law to prevent stormwater pollution from their facilities.
- Strengthened the state’s Construction Stormwater Permit by incorporating enforceable numeric water quality limits. CCKA’s advocacy ensured that California adopted the most enforceable construction stormwater permit in the nation.
- Resolved four Clean Water Act cases that provided $262,500 in funding for community watershed restoration projects. Three of the cases addressed significant sources of polluted industrial stormwater in the Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, and Sacramento areas. The fourth case addressed and mitigated unpermitted discharges of raw sewage in Sacramento County.
- Secured a characterization study and future removal of legacy contaminants in Moss Landing Harbor to save the sea otter. As part of a Clean Water Act settlement with a boatworks facility in Moss Landing Harbor, CCKA secured a commitment from the facility owner to study legacy pollutants that are lethal to sea otters in Moss Landing Harbor to subsequently facilitate the removal and proper disposal of contaminated sediments.
- Obtained environmental justice and Tribal community representation on the California Water Boards. CCKA worked with local Waterkeepers to identify, nominate, and support local water leaders who provide diversity and representation of communities disproportionately impacted by California’s water policies and permits.
Executive Director Sean Bothwell leads CCKA’s initiatives to fight for swimmable, fishable, and drinkable waters for all Californians.