History of CCPN

Founded in 1999 by Susan Jordan, the California Coastal Protection Network (CCPN) focuses its non-profit advocacy on key statewide issues facing the California Coast.  CCPN has developed a successful track record for raising public awareness of coastal development and public access issues by working with local stakeholder groups throughout the coastal zone. CCPN has played a leading role in defeating controversial large scale, precedent setting coastal development projects including expanded offshore oil leasing, siting of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, expanded commercial development at Hearst Ranch, protection and restoration of state parks at San Onofre (Toll Road) and Crystal Cove, and opposition to seawater desalination projects that use outdated intake technologies that pose significant adverse impacts to California’s marine resources and Marine Protected Areas. 


CCPN works to actively and effectively uphold the core tenets of the California Coastal Act through policy, advocacy and collaboration. We accomplish our mission by providing strong leadership to advance California’s 40-year legacy of coastal protection. We work with advocates, academics, scientists, and communities across the state to enhance California’s 40-year legacy of strong coastal protection under the Coastal Act by watch-dogging coastal development permits before the Coastal Commission, educating lawmakers in Sacramento, and building diverse coalitions to empower residents.

CCPN’s strategic coastal advocacy and increasing role as a "coastal watchdog" has helped foster a growing awareness about the need to empower citizens to take ownership in their coast. CCPN works to ensure that all major development proposals that come before the Coastal Commission receive thorough review and analysis for consistency with the Chapter 3 policies of the Coastal Act, that important policy advances are pursued and needed reforms are instituted, and that strong candidates for appointment to the Commission are identified.  CCPN has already established itself as a leading voice urging the Commission that its process for hiring a new executive director must be as transparent and as inclusive of public input as possible.  

Further, CCPN is working to broaden the coastal advocacy movement by focused outreach and engagement with environmental justice and civil rights organizations, tribal representatives, as well as mainstream groups throughout the state, to ensure that well-informed and effective voices and viewpoints are heard on coastal policy matters that affect all Californians including lower income, inland and racially diverse communities. 

Projects Before the California Coastal Commission

Poseidon Seawater Desalination Plant, Huntington Beach

Poseidon is a for-profit water privatization company, now controlled by Canadian-based Brookfield Infrastructure, that is seeking approval at the Coastal Commission to build a second large-scale seawater desalination plant in Huntington Beach, CA.  Poseidon’s first large scale seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad – the largest in the Western Hemisphere – was approved before the State of California adopted the nation’s first set of standards for the construction and operation of seawater desalination plants.  These standards call for the minimization of the destruction of marine life through the use of advanced technologies that prevent wide-scale entrainment and mortality of marine organisms through the intake process and the destructive impacts of caused by the discharge of the resulting toxic brine into the marine environment.

Instead of comporting to the new standards, Poseidon seeks to use outdated technology including an open ocean intake built in the 1960s that the State Water Resources Control Board outlawed for use by the existing power plant due to its highly destructive impacts on the marine environment.

In 2010, Poseidon was found to have deliberately lied to the Coastal Commission during its Carlsbad permitting process when it claimed that its desalinated water would result in a drop-for-drop reduction in imported water from the State Water Project.  Poseidon’s Carlsbad permit is now under review for lack of compliance with its Coastal Development Permit and violations of its Discharge Permit.

This project will be heard at the Coastal Commission the week of September 7th – 9th in Newport Beach, CA.

Newport Banning Ranch, Orange County

The last and largest privately owned open space left in the coastal zone in Orange County, Banning Ranch consists of 401 acres atopa coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Although subjected to oil drilling operations and various Coastal Act violations for decades, Banning Ranch survives as one of the most important open spaces left along the coast of southern California. Banning Ranch is home to several threatened and endangered species, as well as various unique and rare coastal habitats.  Since widespread, unpermitted mowing was ceased a few years ago, large areas of native coastal scrub have regenerated on Banning Ranch on their own without the questionable ‘restoration and remediation’ project the developer is proposing only if they are allowed to build a massive resort and residential development with 890+ new homes and a new road that would bisect the property.

The developers for the Banning Ranch property are AERA Energy (Exxon-Mobil and Shell) and their partner, private equity, investor-driven Cherokee Partners based out of North Carolina.

The project has garnered considerable media attention documenting the gross violations that have occurred on the property as well as unreported meetings between members of the Coastal Commission and the developer and their representatives.

Banning Ranch has the potential to set an adverse precedent for habitat protection across the coastal zone of CA as its developers actively seek to weaken the statutory definition of what constitutes Environmentally Sensitive Habitat that is afforded the highest level of protection under the California Coastal Act.

This project will be heard at the Coastal Commission the week of September 7th – 9th in Newport Beach.