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State news briefs
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SAN DIEGO DESALINATION PLANT DEAL PROPOSED:SAN DIEGO (AP) — A plan to provide the San Diego area with drinking water made from seawater has cleared a major hurdle.

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday that it's reached an agreement with a private company to buy enough water from a proposed desalination plant to supply 112,000 homes.

The 30-year deal will have a public review and could be approved this fall.

Having a buyer allows Poseidon Resources to obtain financing to build the Carlsbad plant and a 10-mile-long delivery pipeline.

The plant could start producing in 2016 and by 2020 could provide 8 percent of the region's water — although the cost could be double that of conventional sources.

BAKERSFIELD MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN FERTILIZER CASE: BAKERSFIELD  (AP) — A Central California fertilizer producer accused of selling product with synthetic ingredients that he claimed were entirely organic is facing prison time after pleading guilty to four counts of mail fraud in the case.

Kenneth Noel Nelson Jr. entered the plea this week.

The 59-year-old Bakersfield resident ran Port Organic Products Ltd., one of the largest organic fertilizer operations in the western U.S.

Prosecutors said Nelson misrepresented fertilizer as organic when it in fact contained ingredients that disqualified it from that certification.

Officials allegedly found thousands of gallons of aqueous ammonia, an ingredient in synthetic fertilizers, at his factory.

NEW GAS POWER PLANT TO HELP CUT EMISSIONS : LODI  (AP) — California officials say a new natural gas plant will help the state reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it pumps water to millions of people and farms.

The plant that opened Friday will replace some of the coal-generated energy used by the State Water Project, which provides drinking water to 25 million Californians and irrigation water to 750,000 acres of farmland.

More than half the electricity that moves the water is generated by the state's own hydroelectric plants. The rest comes from other sources, including coal plants that are heavy emitters of greenhouse gases.

In addition to supplying the water project, energy from the gas plant will go to Silicon Valley, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system and several municipal utilities in Northern California.