Ruiz Leads Bicameral Effort to Secure Salton Sea Funding in Upcoming Infrastructure Legislation
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. The legislation would allow the Bureau of Reclamation to undertake major infrastructure projects at the Salton Sea in partnership with the State of California.
“At a time when the western United States is facing one of the most severe periods of drought in modern history, the Bureau of Reclamation needs the strongest tools available to address water-related infrastructure challenges,” said Dr. Ruiz. “The Salton Sea Projects Improvements Act would provide them with the tools and financial resources needed to fulfill the federal responsibility to the Salton Sea and the region.”
The Senate is currently debating elements of a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which will provide funding for roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects around the United States. Following this effort, Congress is expected to take up a second infrastructure package through the budget reconciliation process, which Ruiz believes should include the critical funding for the Salton Sea.
Ruiz’s legislation would modernize the Salton Sea Research Program (P.L. 102-575) to explicitly authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to be the federal partner on projects to improve air and water quality, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and improve public health at the Salton Sea. The bill also increases the amount Reclamation can spend at the Salton Sea from $10 million to $250 million.