Rep. Ruiz Releases Discussion Draft of Federal Salton Sea Legislation

WASHINGTON —Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. has released draft legislation to bring additional resources to the Salton Sea by streamlining funding for projects and improving coordination among stakeholders at all levels of government.

“Releasing a discussion draft of the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act and holding a congressional hearing specifically on the Salton Sea is a major development and momentum boost to deliver needed resources to break ground on new projects; strengthen stakeholder partnerships at all levels of government; and ensure agencies follow through with their commitment to the Sea and my constituents,” said Dr. Ruiz.

The public health and environmental hazard at the Sea must be addressed immediately, Ruiz said.

The draft legislation, titled the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act, would:

  • Require the Department of Interior to work with the State of California to construct additional mitigation projects at the Sea;
  • Create the Salton Sea Management Council, an interagency task force comprised of key federal departments with jurisdiction over the Sea;
  • Increase monitoring of particulate matter at the Sea in order to respond to and mitigate the health effects of poor air quality in communities near the Sea; and
  • Require an annual report to Congress on the status of construction and funding needs to complete projects.

A link to the section-by-section can be found here.

The release of the draft legislation comes in advance of a hearing titled “Federal and State Efforts to Restore the Salton Sea” in the House Natural Resources Committee on Sept. 24, 2020. Dr. Ruiz called for the hearing in a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee highlighting the need to examine the federal responsibility to mitigate the public health effects of the receding shoreline at the Sea.

Riverside County Supervisor and Salton Sea Authority Vice Chair V. Manuel Perez is in support of the efforts of Representative Raul Ruiz to bring additional federal resources to the Sea.

“We learned of the Congressional hearing at (Thursday’s) Salton Sea Authority meeting,” Perez said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the efforts of Congressman Ruiz because they are aligned with the ongoing discussions, policies and projects of the Salton Sea Authority, especially as we are making major strides today more so than ever before. The key areas outlined by the Congressman will reinforce the discussions taking place between the Salton Sea Authority and the State of California. This will help ensure we draw down $30 million from the state to continue work on the Perimeter Lake concept, the North Lake pilot project, and preservation of natural habitats and dust suppression.

“It is our hope that the … Authority will have the opportunity to give testimony at this hearing, since the last time the locals gave testimony at a Congressional hearing on the Salton Sea was in 1997 under Congressman Sonny Bono. This is a great opportunity to elevate our region’s environmental, air quality and water issues to our nation as a whole.”


Image Sources

  • Salton Sea: Shutterstock