By AMY TAXIN
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — For more than two decades, California’s Orange County has debated whether to build a seaside plant to convert ocean water into drinking water in the hopes of buffering against ever-drier weather and drought. Now, the $1.4 billion proposal by Poseidon Water will is getting a critical review by a state panel tasked with protecting California’s scenic shores. The California Coastal Commission is considering the project in a long-awaited hearing Thursday that is considered by proponents and critics as its last biggest hurdle. Environmentalists oppose the plant and say it will damage marine life and is vulnerable to flooding from sea level rise.