EL CENTRO – The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors today approved a term sheet with Imperial County and the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District that recognizes the critical role of air quality mitigation and Salton Sea restoration in minimizing the impacts of the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) on public health and the environment. Together the agencies will pursue funding for restoration, including utilizing geothermal and other renewable energy generation sources at the Salton Sea to provide long-term funding.
The action taken by the IID board follows that of the Imperial County Board of Supervisors announced out of closed session today and paves the way for a memorandum of understanding between the two agencies that will survive the current QSA litigation. If a global settlement can be reached with the other parties to the QSA litigation, then an enforceable judgment could resolve the QSA litigation between all of the parties to the QSA coordinated cases.
“It has taken more than a decade to get to this point,” said Matt Dessert, IID board president, “but we are finally in a position to present a unified front on behalf of the sea and the region. Now it’s time for other QSA parties, including the state and federal government, to do the same.”
Said Ray Castillo, chairman of the county board, “Imperial County and the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District are pleased to join with IID to protect the Valley’s Colorado River water supply for agriculture and municipal uses, and the public health from dust emissions emanating from the exposed playa at the Salton Sea. The County and Air District look forward to working with IID to secure Salton Sea restoration funding and implement the other terms.”
Among the terms included in the document approved by both boards are the following:
– An endorsement of the 2006 restoration model of the Salton Sea Authority.
– Air quality, habitat, recreation and stabilization of the sea’s elevation and salinity levels as key foundational elements to guide the restoration planning process.
– Joint pursuit of a federal, state and regional strategy to secure long-term funding for the Salton Sea restoration plan.
– Endorsement of an energy surcharge at Hoover Dam to contribute to the Salton Sea restoration plan and mitigation fund.
– Sufficient water for Imperial County agriculture, municipal, and industrial uses. After these needs are met, Colorado River water is essential to the Salton Sea restoration plan and mitigating air quality impacts.
– Agreement by the Secretary of Interior and State Water Resources Control Board that the use of Colorado River water to restore the Salton Sea and mitigate the impacts of the QSA water transfers is a reasonable and beneficial use.
– Joint pursuit of the State’s commitment to build transmission interconnecting to the district’s electric system for the export of up to 1,400 megawatts of renewable energy from the Salton Sea resource area to load centers throughout the state.
– IID’s pledge of its extensive land and mineral assets in the Salton Sea Known Geothermal Resource Area to establish a renewable energy development area in order to create public/private partnerships that would contribute to Salton Sea restoration.
– Joint request to the federal government to pledge its own land and mineral assets within the Salton Sea KGRA and the decommissioned Naval Test Site for the development of renewable energy generation.
– Pursuit of alternative water supplies, including the concept of bringing sea water to the Salton Sea, local groundwater resources, reclaimed water and other sources to augment current water supplies.
– IID’s agreement to withdraw its pending petition before the SWRCB that would permit reduction of IID inflows to the Salton Sea.
– IID’s agreement to not take any future actions, nor enter into any additional water transfers, that would result in further reductions of IID’s water divisions from the Colorado River.
At the request of IID and Imperial County, a tentative decision in the QSA litigation was stayed until June 3, 2013, by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly. Mediation to reach settlement with all the parties is planned.
A complete copy of the IID and County term sheet is attached: www.iid.com/termsheet