Federal Government Agrees to Supervisor Benoit’s Request for Greater Role in Salton Sea Stabilization Efforts
NORTH SHORE – Assistant Interior Secretary Anne Castle announced Friday that the federal government will take a more active role in helping stabilize the Salton Sea by signing a memorandum of agreement with the Salton Sea Authority.
The announcement follows repeated requests by Riverside County Supervisor and Salton Sea Authority Board Member John J. Benoit for the federal government to join the Authority, a joint powers authority that oversees the distressed sea. Secretary Castle told Supervisor Benoit that entering a memorandum of agreement would be a more expeditious way to get the federal government involved.
"Secretary Castle's commitment to developing an agreement is a very hopeful sign of progress in making the federal government an active partner in our efforts," Supervisor Benoit said.
The discussion took place at an all-day stakeholder forum convened by Congressman Raul Ruiz and hosted by Riverside County, the Salton Sea Authority, and the Salton Sea Action Committee. The forum was held at the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club Community Center in North Shore.
“Now more than ever we need our federal and state partners to join with us here, working closely together locally, to save the Salton Sea and avoid an environmental and health disaster,” Supervisor Benoit said. “We welcome the interest, engagement and support of our new congressman and look forward to working hand-in-hand with our federal partners in this effort.”
Secretary Castle made her second trip to the Salton Sea in just five months to participate in the forum. Benoit and other members of the Salton Sea Authority met with the secretary in her Washington, D.C. office last month.
In December, Benoit joined local, state and federal representatives on a tour of the Salton Sea and was encouraged by then-Secretary Ken Salazar’s promise of short-term help and exploration of long-term federal involvement in the governance of the Salton Sea Authority. He invited the federal government to join the Salton Sea Authority at that time and again in March.