Energy and Environment

The 36th District is home to a rich diversity of natural resources and iconic public lands.  Our district is also leading the way in clean, renewable energy industries such as wind, solar, and geothermal. Investing in renewable energy is an important part of fulfilling our obligation as stewards of the environment, and it will also help create clean energy jobs in our communities and strengthen the local economy.

The United States needs a national energy policy that will help our nation achieve energy independence and create clean energy jobs right here at home. Advanced clean energy technology holds tremendous economic potential for the 36th District. We need a comprehensive national energy policy that will invest in clean energy and put us on the path to energy independence. This is an environmental, economic, and national security issue.

In Congress, I am a member of the bipartisan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency caucus. In addition, I have supported the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects and worked to strengthen America’s energy independence through cooperative agreements between the private and public sector. In 2013, I joined 75 of my colleagues urging support for the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to spur innovation in renewable electricity generation, sustainable transportation, and energy and cost-saving technologies for businesses and homes.

One of the most important environmental issues facing the 36th District is the Salton Sea.  For far too long, the Salton Sea has posed immense health risks to the families and children in the 36th District and across Southern California.

As an Emergency Room doctor, I know the dangers that the dying Sea poses to our local communities, especially our young children. Pediatric asthma rates in our region are already among some of the highest in the nation, due in large part to the dust beds that form as the Salton Sea continues to dry up.

These health problems will only get worse unless we take aggressive steps to restore the Salton Sea. The consequences will be catastrophic if we fail to act. We must work together on the federal, state, and local level, and through public-private partnerships to prevent the Sea from becoming a public health catastrophe. I have been actively working with local stakeholders, the state of California, the President’s Administration, and my colleagues in Congress to take action on this issue and meet this crisis head on as a community. 

More on Energy and Environment

September 15, 2021 In The News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday issued a new emergency drinking water order to the Oasis Mobile Home Park, requiring management to provide alternative drinking water to residents, reduce the levels of arsenic in the Oasis drinking water distribution system and monitor the water for contamination.

This is the third order the EPA has issued to Oasis since August 2019.

August 24, 2021 In The News

The first time ProPublica traveled to Thermal, California, in June 2020, the temperature happened to be 114 degrees, and we felt stupefied, literally unable to think. Everyplace, here in the eastern Coachella Valley, looked gorgeous … for 20 minutes at dusk. Nothing was beautiful at midday. The difference between the watered and unwatered fields was disorienting. Standing in the sun among green growing things and standing alone on the gray parched earth felt like the difference between hope and despondence, even terror; between vibrancy and doom.

August 19, 2021 In The News

At least nine local entertainment venues impacted by shutdowns last year due to COVID-19 received American Rescue Plan funds as part of the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant program. 

According to a statement released Thursday by U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, the venues include Desert Theatreworks in Indio, the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, Mary Pickford is D'Place in Cathedral City, the Fox Cineplex is D'Place in Banning and the Palm Springs Air Museum. 

August 7, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – This week, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) called on Congressional leadership to direct significant federal funding in upcoming infrastructure legislation toward the restoration of the Salton Sea. In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Ruiz, along with California Senators Feinstein and Padilla and Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51), requested that the infrastructure bill include and fund his bill, H.R. 3877, the Salton Sea Projects Improvements Act.

August 4, 2021 In The News

Thermal residents in mobile home parks will now have access to clean drinking water in their homes. A dedication event was held this morning to commemorate the “Drinking Water Installation Project” which will provide over 60 water filters to be installed in local mobile homes. 

“When you think about what is happening in oasis, I know the supervisor, the congressman, the assemblyman, they just met this week to talk about the implementation of funding for the Oasis Mobile Home Park,” explained Linda Evans, Mayor of La Quinta. 

July 7, 2021 Press Release

Palm Desert, CA – This week, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) revealed that local Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) leadership had allowed the Oasis Mobile Home Park (OMHP) to operate without a business lease and in unsafe conditions for more than thirteen years prior to the ongoing drinking water crisis. Ruiz began his investigation earlier this year after local BIA officials failed to take meaningful action to fulfill their responsibility under the federal trust responsibility for Tribal lands.  

July 7, 2021 In The News

You might have smelt it a couple weeks ago: the stench of rotten eggs. Long time Coachella Valley residents know that funky smell can waft over from the Salton Sea.

It happens on some particularly hot days which helps release more hydrogen sulfide. Combine that with the stifling humidity, which tends to materialize when winds are southerly and blowing toward the Coachella Valley from the lake, and you get the miasma of burnt garbage.

The Salton Sea can stink at times because of the organic matter, like dead fish rotting on the lake floor.

July 2, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) released the following statement on General Motors’ investment in lithium energy and power development at the Salton Sea:

July 2, 2021 In The News

General Motors (GM) and Controlled Thermal Resources have reached a historic agreement to develop low-cost lithium at the Salton Sea Geothermal Field, the companies announced on Friday.

June 29, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee held a legislative hearing to examine H.R. 3877, the “Salton Sea Projects Improvements Act” introduced by Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36). The new legislation would authorize $250 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to execute projects to improve air quality, fish and wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and water quality.