REP VARGAS SECURES OVER $3.2 MILLION FOR SALTON SEA AND NEW RIVER IN HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE BILL
WASHINGTON, DC (July 12, 2021) – Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) released the following statement after he secured a combined total of $3,246,000 in the 2022 House Appropriations Energy and Water Subcommittee bill for three different Imperial County Community Project Requests. Funding in the bill includes $2,546,000 for a major Salton Sea research project; $200,000 for the Salton Sea Feasibility Study; and $500,000 for planning and design phases for a potential New River restoration project.
“It is my honor to fight for our district in Congress and I am proud to have secured over $3.2 million in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water bill for the Salton Sea and the New River.
“I am grateful to appropriators for the significant funding dedicated to researching and restoring the Salton Sea included in the bill. The community in the region has long been impacted by high asthma rates and related emergency room visits with many pointing to the Salton Sea’s exposed playa and dust as a major contributor to the region’s poor air quality. With this $2.5 million, researchers will be able to directly assess the role of exposed playa on the enrichment of specific components in the transition from sea, to playa, to entrained dust. I am also pleased to see $200,000 included in the bill to evaluate creating a Salton Sea Perimeter Lake as a way to reduce the exposed lakebed with a goal of providing habitat, improved air quality, and public health benefits in the region.
“In addition, I was pleased to see funding included to assess the transboundary pollution flowing into my district through the New River, which has long affected the residents and the environment. The $500,000 included in the bill will make it possible for the Army Corps of Engineers and the County of Imperial to collect information regarding the pollutants in the New River, enabling them to make an informed decision on the most effective next steps for addressing this decades-long problem.
“The funding included in this bill will take us one step closer to enhancing the environment and will make a critical difference in the lives of people in the 51st Congressional District. As the bill makes its way through the legislative process, I will continue to fight for our district to ensure that we get the federal funding we need to improve the lives of constituents living near the Salton Sea and the New River.”
The inclusion of this funding in the House Appropriations Water and Energy Subcommittee bill is the first step in the funding process. Rep. Vargas will continue to fight for this funding as the bill moves to the full Appropriations Committee, consideration on the House Floor, and negotiations with the Senate.