MECCA, Cali. - For the first time in a long time, there's hope to save the Salton Sea.
Assemblyman Manuel Perez tells us, "We have momentum where we have federal government engaged as well as state government, regional government, our locals. For the first time it seems like there's some unison there, to try to get something done."
Assemblyman Perez proposed three bills all designed to tackle the biggest issues surrounding the sea's future.
The first re-establishes a governing council to work with the Salton Sea authority and local businesses and residents.
Perez continues, "There's so many ideas as to what a plan should be, I think for me, what's important that we decide on is who ultimately at the end of the day is making decisions. And that's the reason why we introduced legislation around governance."
The second bill calls for the state to plan and prepare for what happens as water gets transferred out of the sea...part of a 2003 agreement between the Imperial Water District and the San Diego Water District.
The continued transfer would expose more than 26 miles of lakebed by 2018.
Jim Hanks is president of the Salton Sea Authority Board. He says, "If this sea dries up and you have toxins from the salt brine and pesticides that's been placed here over the years and some of the sulfates and so forth. You're going to create a situation that's not tenable ... not habitable."
The third bill calls for a plan to fund a renewable energy program to help pay the cost of restoring the Salton Sea, expanding thermal energy plants and implementing biofuel production.
Representative Raul Ruiz sees encouraging signs. He said, "The secretary (of the interior) made the priority of this project clear with his visit to the sea. And, I continue to work with Senator boxer and the department of the interior to be sure the federal government partners with our community to address the crisis."
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