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Imperial County proceeds with Lithium Valley master planning

Imperial County Board of Supervisors continue to make progress on their commitment to improve the economic opportunities of Imperial County.

IMPERIAL COUNTY, Calif. (KYMA, KECY) - On April 12, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors moved forward with the development of Lithium Valley at the board meeting.

According to the Board of Supervisors, their actions include developing land use and environmental tools to assist in the streamlining of various renewable resources and energy projects in the southern Salton Sea area.

The Board of Supervisors released a statement of their intended goals of these actions:

"To encourage the development of lithium and other mineral recovery facilities utilizing the significant geothermal resource; to develop new and expand existing geothermal power generation facilities; and to develop other renewable resource operations, including but not limited to, lithium battery manufacturing, clean hydrogen production, organic material repurposing, and renewable fuel alternatives."

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, today the United States has only 1% of global lithium being mined and processed.

The board expressed their support of the Imperial County Department of Public Works' development of a Lithium Infrastructure Assessment planning document which provides a better understanding of the needed improvements and anticipated expansion to county roads, bridges, etc.

The Board of Supervisors said they want to provide a better quality of life for residents and industry of the southern Salton Sea area.

"This is a win-win approach that focuses on working with the public and industry by streamlining the development process while fully addressing the economic, environmental and social needs of our community in an equitable manner," said Chairman of the Board, Jesus E. Escobar.

Congressman Raul Ruiz made an appearance at the El Centro Regional Medical yesterday to talk about healthcare priorities in rural communities.

Ruiz said our health is very tied to our environment and the environment's health is very important to maintain our own personal health.

He said when you look at vulnerable populations and the poor, they're concentrated often times around high polluting industries and environments.

"That is why the Salton Sea and the opportunities with the lithium development and making sure that the economic benefits from battery productions and lithium extraction in geothermal energy is tied to the public's health and to the receding shoreline," Ruiz said.

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Vanessa Gongora

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