SACRAMENTO–Governor Jerry Brown, on Friday, signed Senate Bill 1416 by Senator Jeff Stone (R-LaQuinta), that will allow Californians to help restore the Salton Sea.
The bill passed the State Senate last week by a 37-0 vote.
The new law will allow Californians to make a voluntarily contribution to the “Revive the Salton Sea Fund” by checking a box on their State Income Tax form.
“I’m pleased the Governor and the Legislature have recognized the need to take action on the Salton Sea,” said Senator Stone. “The Salton Sea is on the brink of an ecological disaster that will impact the lives, health and economy of not just the Coachella Valley and Inland Empire, but all of Southern California.”
These days, about 90 percent of the fresh water that flows into the Salton Sea comes from Imperial Valley agricultural runoff. Unless action is taken soon, much of this water could stop flowing into the sea in just a few years. The Salton Sea Task Force was created to reach a solution, and work is progressing.
As the lake shrinks, as much as 150-square-miles of lakebed is likely to be exposed, creating large amounts of dust, killing millions of fish and birds and threatening air quality across the region.
It has been projected that without action to stop deterioration, the long-term social and economic costs – higher health care costs, increased illnesses like asthma and other more serious diseases, lower property values and others – could range between $29 billion and $70 billion over the next 30 years.
“There is much work to be done to save and restore the Salton Sea,” Senator Stone said. “My bill, signed today by the Governor, is an important step toward making that happen.”