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Environmental Leaders Call on Former Senator Boxer to Divulge Lobbying Payments for Work on Poseidon Desalination Plant Opposed by Local Taxpayer and Coastal Groups


  • Orange County Coastkeeper Launches “The Poseidon Misadventure” Campaign to Highlight Special Interest Lobbying Efforts to Win Approval of Controversial Project

ORANGE COUNTY – Local environmental leaders today called on former Senator Barbara Boxer to disclose the payments she has been receiving to lobby on behalf of the Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach.

Payments to Boxer have not been included on reports filed with the Fair Political Practices Committee nor California Secretary of State by Poseidon nor Mercury Public Affairs, the lobbying firm that signed up Boxer to work on the project with state regulatory officials. Boxer also refused to disclose the amount of the payments she is receiving to the Los Angeles Times when interviewed in May for her work promoting the plant. According to the newspaper, the company has spent $1.6 million since 2000 in lobbying efforts.

Boxer’s lobbying for the proposed Huntington Beach project comes just months after she left the United States Senate. Federal lobbying rules prohibited Senators from lobbying colleagues for two years after they leave office. Yet Boxer was tapped by Poseidon to lobby for the project among state regulators that need to give it final approval.

“We are saddened and disappointed that Senator Boxer would trade the trust Californians had in her for many years in the United States for this taxpayer boondoggle that will have massive negative environmental effects,” said Garry Brown, Founder & President of the Orange County Coastkeeper, which has long opposed the project. “This is exactly the revolving door practice that, as our Senator, Barbara Boxer railed against. It shows how desperate the proponents of this project are, and it’s time for the payments they are making to her be revealed.”

Brown announced that his organization today is launching an aggressive new effort to combat the project. Called “The Poseidon Misadventure,” a new website features a documented list of the millions of dollars of lobbying payments, contributions, and other details of the effort to sell the plant to state and federal regulators. The site address is:

The Poseidon project was named as one of the Trump Administration’s top priorities on a list leaked earlier this year, according to the Daily Pilot. The project needs approvals from the State Lands Commission, Coastal Commission and the regional Water Quality Control Board before operating.

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ORANGE COUNTY COASTKEEPER: Orange County Coastkeeper is a member of the International Waterkeeper Alliance, which has 236 different independent programs across 29 countries. Founded in 1999, the mission of Coastkeeper is to protect and promote sustainable water resources that are swimmable, drinkable, and fishable. Coastkeeper is a nonprofit clean water organization that serves as a proactive steward of our fresh- and saltwater ecosystems. We work collaboratively with diverse groups in the public and private sectors to achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region. We implement innovative, effective programs in education, advocacy, restoration, research, enforcement, and conservation. For more information, visit or call 714-850-1965.