The Little Hoover Commission in a letter sent Friday to Governor Brown and the Legislature again renewed its call for urgent action at the Salton Sea to prevent a massive public health, environmental and economic disaster in Southern California.
Policymakers must replicate the effective approach taken to meet the state’s rewewable energy goals, wrote the Commission in its letter. Then, the Govenor gave a senior official the authority to do what it took to get projects through red tape at all levels of government. The model was remarkably simple: Get everyone together and get it done.
The letter results from continuing oversight to which the Commission pledged in its 2015 report, Averting Disaster: Action Now for the Salton Sea. The Commission held an April 2016 hearing to get an update on the state’s progress in strategically managing the Salton Sea. It heard from the assistant secretary for Salton Sea policy at the Natural Resources Agency, as well as stakeholders from local government and the environmental community.
The Commission’s letter acknowledges that momentum is building and that the state has made important progress in managing the sea, particularly with $80 million in funding in the Governor’s proposed 2016-17 budget. However, the Commission’s letter maintains that the state is not moving fast enough or allocating sufficient resources to prevent a disaster. Timelines have been delayed, short-term goals scarcely cover a fraction of exposed lakebed and much more than $80 million is needed to manage the sea.