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Raul Ruiz Urges Gov. Brown To Sign Senate Bill 5


Last updated 10/5/2017 at 11:34am

Wednesday Oct. 4, representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) wrote to California Governor Brown, urging him to sign Senate Bill 5, which includes $200 million in funding for mitigation and restoration efforts at the Salton Sea.

The bond proposal is critical to addressing the long-term public health and environmental impacts of the decline of the Sea on Riverside and Imperial counties.

“Mitigating decline of the Salton Sea is essential to the health, environment, and economy of Southern California and it cannot be delayed. We must take action and prevent the exposure of toxic playa particulates that will worsen asthma and cardiovascular diseases, particularly in our children and seniors who are most at risk,” Ruiza said.

“That is why I urge Governor Brown to sign SB 5 and address these hazards. Our collective work will allow us to tackle emerging threats to our health and environment, invest in reducing California’s future economic burden, and realize an abundant renewable energy source at the Sea for the next generation.”

Full letter:

Governor, State of California

State Capitol, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Governor Brown:

I respectfully request your signature on Senate Bill 5, supporting $200 million in critical funding for mitigation and restoration activities at the Salton Sea. As you know, under the 2003 Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) the State of California (State) assumed the responsibility of addressing the significant environmental and public health impacts associated with the decline of the Salton Sea. This bond funding will get us on the right track to preventing these disastrous impacts, and toward a healthy and sustainable Sea.

The Salton Sea is the largest inland body of water in California, spanning across Riverside and Imperial counties, sustained primarily by agricultural runoff. For decades, the Salton Sea has been shrinking as runoff has decreased and farming has become more water efficient. As the shoreline recedes, it exposes toxic dust particles that can cause respiratory distress, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases, especially in children and seniors. A recent Pacific Institute study found that public health costs alone could exceed $70 billion over the next 30 years if nothing is done to mitigate the decline of the sea and dust emissions.

Under the QSA, after December 2017 the Sea will no longer receive stabilizing mitigation water, which will hasten the Sea’s decline. At the federal level, we are working to complement state efforts through a multi-agency approach. In November 2015, the first large-scale mitigation project broke ground at the Red Hill Bay, serving as a proof of concept for future mitigation. In 2016, the Department of Interior announced $2 million to clean up water feeding into the Sea along the Alamo River. Finally, the Department of Interior signed an Memorandum Of Understanding to provide $30 million to support State activities over 10 years.

We cannot lose sight of the human plight that inaction at the Salton Sea will cause. We must be forward-looking, we must take bold actions, and we must work together at all levels of government to mitigate this public health and environmental emergency. Therefore, I urge your signature on SB 5 to uphold State’s commitment to protecting the health of millions of Southern Californians.


Raul Ruiz, M.D.

Member of Congress

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