WASHINGTON, D.C. Before the third government shutdown this year, President Trump signed into law H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill, which changed critical agricultural conservation programs to make the Salton Sea eligible for millions in new federal funding.

The changes were championed by Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36), Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Sen. Kamala Harris who wrote to Farm Bill negotiators in support of the changes earlier this year. For the first time, the Salton Sea now has access to guaranteed federal funding that is intended to help rectify environmental and public health issues caused by agricultural activity.

H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, otherwise known as the 2018 Farm Bill, passed the Senate on December 11 by a 87-13 vote. It passed the House the next day on December 12 369-47.

Combined with a recent Imperial Irrigation District vote to make additional Colorado River water conservation conditional on federal matching of State funding at the Sea, these developments have created a viable pathway for significant federal involvement at the Sea.

“We’re making progress because we’re working together and tackling this issue from multiple angles at the same time – we simply can’t afford to wait,” Ruiz said in a prepared statement. “This new funding has the potential to be a game-changer for mitigation activities at the Sea by more than doubling our current resources. I am proud to have worked with Senator Feinstein and other California Members of Congress to achieve this critical outcome for the Sea.”

“While the Farm Bill required bipartisan effort from numerous members in Congress, we are especially appreciative of Senator Feinstein and Representative Ruiz for championing the Salton Sea,” Salton Sea Authority Executive Director Phil Rosentrater, said in a prepared statement. “The Farm Bill is just one example of their steadfast work to protect the public health, economic security and environmental quality of the Imperial and Coachella valleys.”