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    Salton Sea: Web of Interests and Solutions

     

    by Sheryl Hamlin

    Web of Interests

    The web of entities with interests in the Salton Sea includes big and powerful commercial and governmental interests as well as citizen groups.

    The first Geothermal plant, Salton Sea 1, was operational in 1982 (source: Wikipedia. This plant is owned by CE Generation, LLC, an Omaha Nebraska company with ties to Berkshire Hathaway Energy. There are now 11 geothermal plants at the Salton Sea with another in progress sending energy to the grid.

    In 2003, the Quantification Settlement Agreement (Wikipedia) gave hundreds of thousands of gallons of Imperial County water to San Diego, thus stressing the drought stricken area’s ability to renew itself.

    An Australian firm, Controlled Thermal Responses, is planning the 12th geothermal installation to provide power for lithium mining. General Electric has indicated interested in this lithium for its EV division. (source: Wikipedia) Here is a rendering of the massive project: Rendering

    Because of this interest California formed The Lithium Valley Commission to study lithium mining and produce a report by 2022. (source: Lithium Valley,CA) Note that Controlled Thermal Responses is hoping for more evaporation so there is more exposed basin for lithium mining: Controlled Thermal Responses interview

    The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) established a Salton Sea Management Program (SSMP) to study alternatives and plans to issue a report by 2022 using professional consultants and a citizen committee as a sound board. Read previous report here: Citizens Journal article

    The County of Riverside obtained a grant to restore the Albert Frey designed Yacht Club in 2010 which is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Source: Atomic Ranch Albert Frey.

    KESQ produced a four-part video series “Troubled Waters” which gives a sense of the unsolvable health and environmental issues. Can this area ever be made safe for human or animal life? Source: KESQ video

    Citizens and residents of Imperial county near the Salton Sea are experiencing respiratory diseases and see no abatement. Source: Toxic fumes. And as far away as Brawley and Calpatria health issues from air quality are measurable: County wide health issues

    The Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Native Americans have lived on the land near the sea for generations. Cultural heritage is a challenge as well as environmental restoration. They call it an oasis and hope for restoration through wetlands. Torres Martinez video

    SSMP Long Range Planning Committee March 2, 2022

    From the Salton Sea Management Program Website (SSMP), the goals of the March 2, 2022 meeting were as follows. Sarah Friedman facilitated the three-hour meeting.
    * Provide the status of the planning process
    * Solicit feedback from the committee members on preliminary restoration concepts
    * Solicit feedback on evaluation criteria to evaluate restoration concepts
    * Discuss community engagement and the schedule of future meetings

    Important updates to planning

    An independent review panel on water important has been established: Water Import Panel

    Dr. Brill Brownlie, Chief Engineer of Tetratech, a firm who has consulted for 15 years to California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) BIO, explained that all costs are being updated to 2022 dollars and a hydrology modeling is in process which will be merged with the water importation studies.

    Concepts

    Dr. Brownlie announced that the only concepts under study now are without water import, presumably they are awaiting the abovementioned water import study. The concepts presented are historical but he noted that there is a form for new concepts to be submitted. The concepts presented were: I. Baseline 10 year Plan, II. Marine Sea (2006), III. Divided Sea (2007), IV Updated Perimeter Lake, V. Pump Out. None of these concepts included the existing geothermal plants in the schematics or the proposed lithium geothermal plant nor was there any discussion about how the existing baseline plan would be affected by future geo and mining projects.




    The Salton Sea Authority has published proposed solutions from the last 15 years. Proposed Solutions The Perimeter Lake solution was popular at one time: Perimeter Lake

    During the discussion of the concepts, it was noted that the Pump Out Concept is similar to the Owens Lake project with 20-25 pumping plants, where Los Angeles County has spent millions on dust control and continuing. Luis Olmedo was concerned that the pump out process would simply transfer toxins from one area to another without capture.

    Chuck Parker said that conditions regarding greenhouse gas emission (GHG) have changed drastically over 20 years and reported on a report by Jenny E. Ross who claims that the lake was not founded accidently in 1905 and presents research: Ross Report

    Michael Cohen was concerned how the solutions would be synchronized with the hydrology model if the latter were not finished so that the solutions could avail themselves of it. G. Patrick O’Dowd expressed similar concerns and also posed a hypothetical question about the future of agriculture in the Imperial valley.

    Tom Sephton asked who is allowed to submit concepts? Where will harmful brine be sent in the Sea of Cortez and will Mexico accept the brine? Dr. Brownlie said that there are no constraints on submittals except that they are not considering water importation at this time.

    Howard Elmore questioned why there is nothing involving the soil along the sea and what actually makes up the shoreline, as well as agriculture and dust suppression. Dr. Brownlie said there is a twenty-year-old soils report. Geotech investigations now into the depth of the waters and agreed there could be some reclamation.

    Nelda Ruiz stated that water quality is more than just salinity and questioned if additional filtration were planned. Dr. Brownlie said that phosphates and nitrate filtration is in preliminary discussion and would be a major consideration for any pipeline.

    Evaluation Criteria

    The moderator presented the Evaluation Criteria which the Long Range Planning process would use and asked the members to augment or prioritize this list. This process was lengthy and will be summarized in the meeting notes.

    Communiction to CNRA

    To comment and/or send solutions, please email:

    [email protected]

    Lest We Forget

    The Sea was popular in the mid-20th century as a resort and a community. These pictures show then and now: Then and Now

    To read about the author, click sherylhamlin dot com


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    8 COMMENTS

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    Rev. Flanders
    Rev. Flanders
    1 month ago
    Reply to  Sheryl Hamlin

    Homage to SIN!!!!!!! Read your bible. Its a sin to worship idols and a sin to create graven images.

    THE END IS NEAR. Repent your sins NOW or suffer your fate when you stand before Christ as your Judge.

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