Ruiz Introduces Legislation to Bring Major Federal Investment to the Salton Sea

WASHGTON, D.C. — Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. , CA-36, a tireless advocate for the Salton Sea, on Thursday introduced H.R. 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act with Rep. Juan Vargas, CA-51.

Ruiz  in September 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.

The legislation would bring significant federal funding to the Salton Sea while streamlining projects; increasing coordination between local, state, and federal officials; and holding federal agencies accountable to their commitments at the Salton Sea.

Raul Ruiz

Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D.

“We must work together to address the Salton Sea and protect the public’s health and economy,”  Ruiz said in a prepared statement. “My bill, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act, will ensure an all-hands-on-deck approach that involves local, state, and federal coordination to address the urgent public health crisis at the Salton Sea. My bill will bring significant federal funding, streamline coordination, expedite projects, and ensure agencies follow through with their commitment to the Sea and my constituents.”

“We need resources and programs to address public health concerns, restore wildlife and habitat, and explore economic development opportunities in the Salton Sea region,” Rep. Vargas said in a prepared statement.  “I am joining my colleague Rep. Ruiz in introducing the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act as reducing the harmful effects of the receding Salton Sea remains a top priority in my district.”

“Limiting dust emissions and restoring habitat at the Salton Sea are high priorities for Governor Newsom and our Natural Resources Agency,” Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, said in a prepared statement. “While we are making progress, it is clear that federal government support and partnership are essential for us to stabilize and restore the Sea. We are encouraged by the introduction of H.R. 8875 by Rep. Raul Ruiz to advance federal government measures to protect the Salton Sea.”

“I commend Congressman Ruiz for his steadfast commitment to our Salton Sea community,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella. “As a physician, he understands the public health imperative facing families living around the Sea, and he has been fighting to turn the federal government’s attention to this issue. We are hopeful that this legislation will lead to the increased federal support and improved coordination needed to build upon California’s momentum to address this public health, economic, and environmental crisis.”

“The Salton Sea and its environmental, air quality, and water challenges are important concerns to our nation as a whole,” said Riverside County Supervisor and Salton Sea Authority Vice Chair V. Manuel Perez. “Expanding the federal partnership with the Salton Sea and bringing additional federal resources, such as a matching commitment to dust suppression and habitat projects, are concepts that would strongly enhance the efforts of the Salton Sea Authority and the State of California. I appreciated the opportunity to work with Congressman Raul Ruiz and offer input on this bill, and I appreciate our Congressman’s introduction of the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act as well as the first Congressional hearing in 23 years on the Salton Sea that he recently made happen.”

“Audubon deeply appreciates Rep. Ruiz’s leadership on the Salton Sea,” said Frank Ruiz, Audubon California’s Salton Sea program director. “As one of the largest landowners near the Salton Sea, the federal government bears an equally large responsibility for its decline, which is harming hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of species of birds. This legislation will ensure that the federal government will meet its responsibilities at the Salton Sea, especially over the next few years. The months ahead are crucial to controlling dust emissions and providing habitat as the Sea continues to shrink.”

“We welcome Rep. Ruiz’s leadership and legislation on the Salton Sea,” said Pablo Garza of the Environmental Defense Fund. “By catalyzing more robust engagement from the federal government, this will go a long way to bringing much-needed relief to the long-overlooked communities and ecosystems around the Sea.”

“We greatly appreciate Rep. Ruiz’s continued leadership and welcome this much needed legislation acknowledging federal responsibilities and obligations to the Salton Sea and public and environmental health,” said Michael Cohen of the Pacific Institute.

A Section-by-Section can be found here.

The text of the bill can be found here.



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