Dear Editor,

National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 2554 represents approximately 600 Border Patrol Agents that work in Calexico, El Centro, and Indio, California. Local 2554 cares about our members, our members’ families, and the communities they live in.

In the process of gathering documents to request hazard duty pay for our agents, we uncovered many disturbing findings pertaining to the Salton Sea and the sale of water to San Diego from Imperial Valley. Prior to the 2003 water transfer agreement, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) stated that “the transfer will not result in substantial injury to any legal user of water. We also find that the transfer will not unreasonably affect fish, wildlife, or other instream beneficial uses, provided that certain mitigation measures are implemented,” in both order WRO 2002 – 0016 page 2, and WRO 2002-0013 Page 2 of the Orders. SWRCB clearly demonstrated knowledge of an impact to the fish, wildlife, and people who live and work around the Salton Sea, because the impact had to be mitigated. WRO 2002-0016 page 3, also states “SWRCB also considered the fact that the only viable strategy for mitigating impacts to the Salton Sea was providing replacement water to the Sea to compensate for reduced inflows. This mitigation measure is likely to entail the fallowing of land within IID, which could have significant socio-economic impacts within Imperial County.”

The State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights authorized the long-term transfer of water (45 years with an optional 30-year renewal period) to San Diego, which brought in 125 million dollars annually to IID’s Budget. However, this decision did have and continues to have a severe impact on the fish, wildlife, our agents, and your children. The instrument that was supposed to mitigate that impact after over a decade of inaction was the 10-year Salton Sea Management Plan.

We are now 3 years into the 10-year plan and absolutely nothing has been done to stop the rapidly deteriorating situation at the Salton Sea. Absolutely nothing has been done to mitigate the impact of their decision on the health of your children, and our agents. The children who live around the Salton Sea are experiencing chronic nose bleeds. Chronic nose bleeds can be caused by exposure to hydrogen sulfide, which is found in the Salton Sea.

As the Sea continues to shrink, polluted playa dust and toxic aerosols will continue to be air borne, affecting thousands of children in Imperial County already afflicted with the highest childhood asthma hospitalization rate in California.

This polluted airborne playa will continue to affect the children who live around the Salton Sea and our agents who work at check points on both sides of the Salton Sea. IID and the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) petitioned SWRCB for approval of the long-term transfer of conserved water from IID to SDCWA.

IID Director Bruce Kuhn was the deciding vote to send that petition to the SWRCB to approve the water transfer, and that water transfer is sending 100 billion gallons of your Imperial Valley water every year to San Diego at the expense of environmental and public health around the Salton Sea.

Bruce Kuhn sold a poor community’s water to a rich community, and now those whose health and environment are badly affected by this political decision are left with no recourse today in 2020. Bruce Kuhn decided that your children having chronic nose bleeds, asthma, and cancer were worth the 125 million dollars that flows into IID’s Budget annually.

NBPC Local 2554 will not allow people who jeopardize their agent’s health and the health of children in our community to continue to hold office. That is why we are endorsing JB Hamby for IID Director Division 2.

JB Hamby’s knowledge of the water issues that affect Imperial County is extensive. JB Hamby is running against Bruce Kuhn. As the Salton Sea shrinks, more polluted playa will be air borne and more children will suffer. Do not allow Bruce Kuhn to continue benefit from your children’s pain. Vote JB Hamby for IID Director Division 2 by March 3rd .

Respectfully,

Michael R. Matzke

President NBPC

Local 2554

mmatzkenbpc2554@gmail.com

(760) 595-5550

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