Documents have been flying back and forth the last few weeks over the State Lands Commission's resolution banning the use of coastal waters to cool power plant turbines. A coalition of business interests is challenging the resolution that was filed at the Office of Administrative Law in late June. "For all intents and purposes, the resolution is a regulation and must comply with the Administrative Procedures Act," Bob Lucas, consultant to the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance, explained. CCEEB first petitioned the Office of Administrative Law in June to invalidate the Lands Commission resolution. Since then, the feuding parties have submitted additional arguments. The Office of Administrative Law is reviewing the matter and is expected to approve or reject the resolution this fall. State Lands Commission executive director Paul Thayer said that the resolution did not amount to a regulation because the board will apply its ban on a case-by-case basis, following a review of its staff's analytical and legal framework related to the specific project. "There will be no shortcuts," he added. In mid-April, the State Lands Commission unanimously approved a staff proposal to deny permits to new once-through-cooled generating facilities (Circuit, April 21, 2006). The resolution allows existing power plant permits to be reopened and rejected if they fail to satisfy the revised federal regulations covering power plant intakes, which require significant reductions in aquatic impacts. There are 21 plants in the state that ingest and expel 16.7 billion gallons of water a day. Desalination projects adjacent to water-cooled power plants are affected by the resolution, including a pilot proposal by the California American Water Company, a private water utility, which hopes to tap into the once-through-cooled plant at Moss Landing. Formerly owned by Duke Energy, it is now owned by LS Power. The private water utility proposes to treat 50 gallons of salty water a day. Also raising hackles is a proposed regulation by the State Water Resources Control Board that would restrict wet cooling at power plants. The grid operator urged the water board to work with it during the rule development. "We are very disturbed and concerned by this," said Robin Smutny-Jones, California Independent System Operator legislative analyst, September 7. "It is not that the CAISO doesn't care about the environment, but we need to do this in a collaborative and coordinated manner," she added.