Benoit Commends Governor’s Budget Proposal on Increased Funding for Salton Sea
Salton Sea Authority Chairman John J. Benoit released the following statement on the inclusion of $80 million for Salton Sea projects in Gov. Brown’s state budget proposal Thursday.
“As chairman of the Salton Sea Authority, I am very pleased to see that the proposed state budget contains a truly significant allocation aimed at a Salton Sea revitalization.
“We made dramatic progress at the Salton Sea last year - and the governor’s inclusion of $80 million to begin work is indicative of that progress.
“In 2015, the Salton Sea Authority developed a proposed plan of action referred to as SSWIFT (Salton Sea Water Incremental Funding Time). At the same time, Imperial County and IID were demanding action from the state through their joint initiative to mitigate emerging challenges on exposed playa. As a result, the governor created a task force and eventually directed the California Natural Resources Agency to appoint Bruce Wilcox, formerly of IID, as assistant secretary for the Resources Agency, assigned to the Salton Sea.
“This allocation proves that the work to permanently sustain the Salton Sea as a recreational asset, while at the same time protecting the environment, has truly begun. It will take many years and a great deal of money. An initial estimate of the total SSWIFT plan cost was nearly $1 billion. But as the name implied, it can be done in increments.
“This $80 million is a good start. Even more importantly, it is a good indication that the state has recognized the need to make a serious down payment on its responsibilities related to the Salton Sea. I look forward to supporting this proposal for adoption in the final budget.”