Lawmakers Call for Action on Salton Sea

U.S. Rep. Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) is among lawmakers calling on state and federal agencies to take action on the Salton Sea, identified as the source of a rotten-egg odor reported last week across the Inland Empire and much of the Los Angeles area.

In letters to Gov. Jerry Brown and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Bono Mack said Southern California is witnessing first-hand the impact of a dying ecosystem and that last week’s incident could be a harbinger of worse things to come.

“Though the incident did not present a serious health risk at this time, there is real concern that last week’s issue could foreshadow more ominous events that could potentially harm our health and air quality and take away potential economic benefits in the future if we fail to meet the challenge of saving the Salton Sea,” Bono Mack wrote. “This incident should serve as a wake call. It also demonstrated that issues involving the Salton Sea no longer only affect the Coachella Valley, but also the broader Southern California area.”

At the local level, she wrote, leaders from the political, business, agriculture and environmental sectors are committed to restoring the Salton Sea. Though the state Legislature formed a Salton Sea Restoration Council to come up with a plan, the council has not met and was repealed in the current state budget cycle, she wrote.

“The Salton Sea continues to decline, the ecosystem continues to diminish, and the potential economic development remains untapped. We cannot continue down the path of doing nothing,” Bono Mack wrote. “Without leadership and commitment from all parties, the largest inland water body in the state and valuable habitat will be lost forever, along with the economic benefits of a healthy Sea.

“I urge you to bring together your state agencies and work with our local leaders, who need to have a greater voice in saving the Salton Sea.  I am contacting federal agencies asking for their cooperation and partnership in this effort as well.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (CA-30), U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) also called for action on the Salton Sea in recent days.