The use of coastal water for cooling turbines at new power plants would not be permitted under a resolution unanimously adopted by the State Lands Commission April 17. The Energy Commission's sister agency, which must approve leases for generating plants along the coastline, also agreed not to renew the permits of existing once-through-cooled projects because of the technology's harm to aquatic life. The commission cited the state's protective public trust doctrine and the revised federal Clean Water Act rule 316(b), which requires existing water-cooled power units to reduce the facility's environmental impacts by 90-95 percent. The resolution was drafted by the State Lands Commission staff a few months ago. A vote, however, was postponed after coastal power plant proponents insisted that an operating facility's harm could be offset by the benefits of adding on a desalination facility (Circuit, March 3, 2006). The Lands Commission noted that building a plant that removes the salt from seawater to make it potable alongside a unit cooled with large amounts of ocean water "can reduce the environmental impacts of each" structure. But it also noted that joining the energy- and potable-water-producing facilities could "interfere with phasing out" the wet-cooling equipment. With that logic, the commission agreed to assess the merits of coupling a desal facility and power plants on a case-by-case basis. The commission resolution also urges the Energy Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board - which issues wastewater discharge permits - to "expeditiously develop and implement policies that eliminate the impacts of once-through cooling on the environment." There are 21 coastal power plants that produce 24,000 MW.