Dr. Ruiz Secures Army Corps Salton Sea Project in Water Resources Legislation

December 8, 2020
Press Release
Legislative Victory is Necessary Step Toward Construction at the Salton Sea

Washington, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed S. 1811, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA) which contains a section authored by Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) and Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) to strengthen the federal, state, and local partnership at the Salton Sea. This provision was also included in an earlier version of WRDA passed in July of this year.  

Included in S. 1811 is an authorization for the Army Corps of Engineers to take the first step toward the construction of a northern perimeter lake project at the Salton Sea. The northern perimeter lake project is one of the next major undertakings under the State of California’s Salton Sea Management Program 10-Year Plan. 

“The Water Resources Development Act of 2020 becoming law will be a victory for our district and our Salton Sea efforts, and I am calling on the Senate to take this bill up immediately,” said Dr. Ruiz. “This bill will strengthen our all-hands-on-deck approach to build projects and protect the public’s health at the Salton Sea by making this Salton Sea project a priority for the Army Corps of Engineers. I look forward to working with the State, County, and the Corps to get to work on this effort as soon as possible.”

“Restoring the Salton Sea is critical to protecting the health of the surrounding communities,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). “Reducing toxic dust storms, which this provision seeks to do, would be an important step toward that goal. It would also increase habitat for migratory birds, another welcome development. I’m glad to see Congress is making this important investment in the Salton Sea’s future and appreciate Rep. Ruiz’s dedication to this issue.”

“The Salton Sea's environmental and public health crisis is affecting the lives and livelihood of residents and workers in my district," said Rep. Vargas.  "I’m very pleased that Rep. Ruiz and I joined forces to ensure that our Salton Sea Restoration language was included as a provision in the Water Resources Development Act. We need resources and an all-hands-on-deck approach to reduce the harmful effects of the Salton Sea."

Background:

The Water Resources Development Act is a biennial bill that authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to investigate and construct water infrastructure projects across the United States. 

The 2020 WRDA bill authorizes 46 projects for constructions, includes an additional 27 for investigation, and prioritizes protection of environmental justice communities in all Corps projects. 

The House passed an earlier version of this bill, H.R. 7575, on July 29, 2020 which also included Dr. Ruiz’s Salton Sea provision. 

Additional background on WRDA can be found HERE. 

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