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Supervisor: State should 'step aside,' let locals restore Salton Sea

Debate over Salton Sea solution

SALTON SEA, Calif. - That foul smell, which hovered over Riverside County and lingered into the Los Angeles basin, did in fact originate from the Salton Sea.

Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, chairman of the Salton Sea Authority, says the stench isn't just a local problem, but a state issue.

"This time all of Southern California got to experience how it smells and how it feels," he said.

Ashley released a statement on Thursday taking aim at the state for dropping the ball. He says for years state lawmakers have held onto $133 million plus for sea restoration, but they've failed to lead a plan to actually revive the evaporating lake.

"The state has been reluctant to loosen the reigns. They want to control everything but can't fix it," said Ashley.

Now, the Salton Sea Authority wants to take the reigns and move forward with a solution of its own.

"We want to say throw the ball to us. Let us run with the ball for a while and see what we can do," said Ashley.

One idea is a $3 billion North Sea project to construct a levy, which would cut the sea in half to, "help keep the sea from getting saltier and die. And give us a shoreline where people can work and live on the shore," he said.

The board says there is not much left to lose other than maybe dusty air and a smelly fish die-off.

"Let us save the sea because we believe we can," said Ashley.

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