EL CENTRO – The board today expressed disappointment at the QSA ruling last Tuesday, as well as grit to continue the battle to save the valley from expected disastrous results if the Salton Sea continues to waste away as valuable water is sent to the coastal cities.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly last Tuesday validated the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement and rejected all of the remaining legal challenges to the landmark accord made by the IID, the Imperial County, and various local environmental and private enterprises hoping to either stop the QSA or alter the terms.
Supervisor Michael Kelley said, “Stop me if I get too close to matters that are confidential, but I am still upset over the QSA ruling. The impact of that decision directly affects the Salton Sea and the environmental impact will be devastating. The Imperial Valley has the highest number of cases of asthma and when the playa surrounding the Sea dries and the wind blows it will be bad.”
Kelley went on to say that somebody will be held financially responsible for the negative impact.
“We will continue to fight for the health and the financial well being of the Salton Sea. If the Sea is ever declared dead, that will have a horrible impact,” Kelley said.
Ryan Kelley added that he too was very disappointed in the ruling. “We are undeterred. We will continue to fight for our future, our rights and our home. We will make the large counties accountable for the climate that is created because of the QSA.”
Ryan Kelley said that the County and the IID present a united front. Both entities are serious in resolving this issue and tangible efforts are being done on the QSA to mitigate the effects on the Sea because of the water transfer according to Kelley.
Chairman Ray Castillo agreed with the other supervisors adding that the public needs to be educated on the QSA and its impact on the Valley. With the County talking through the Air Quality Board, the IID concerned with legal terms, price, and quantities, and the farmers and environmental groups having their own issues, the message is mixed and needs clarity.
Ryan Kelley said that with the IID and the County working on the same side for the first time in many years and that the joint partnership should help clarify the message.
The Board plans on issuing a public statement in the near future as a means of educating the Valley on the significance of the QSA and the recent ruling.