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Salton Sea - $3.15 billion Restoration


Last updated 8/13/2015 at 11:04am

In order to restore the Salton Sea, local officials now say they want $3.15 billion from California according to a detailed plan approved Tuesday by the Imperial Irrigation District’s board of directors.

The $3.15 billion would fund shovel-ready pilot projects and new geothermal energy development around the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. The money would be raised from several sources, including fees from companies that emit planet-warming greenhouse gases as well as the $7.5 billion water bond that voters approved in November.

“It’s a bargain compared to $9 billion, which everyone agrees has only served to impede any real discussion about what to do,” Kevin Kelley, the Imperial Irrigation District’s general manager, said at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Imperial Irrigation District officials called the new proposal a draft, saying they hope to get input from Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly formed Salton Sea Task Force.

The lake is home to one of the world’s most potent geothermal reservoirs, and local officials have long seen new development as a source of royalty payments to fund long-term restoration. Boosting geothermal energy development would also suppress dust by covering the exposed lakebed and contribute to California’s ambitious clean energy goals.

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