By Mario Conde
The County Board of Supervisors gave its support to a bill that would to establish and algae production program in Imperial County.
This bill would enact the Agricultural Cultivation and Salton Sea Stabilization Act, which would authorize the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency to establish an Algae Production Program in the Imperial Valley to meet high-priority economic and environmental goals, expedite regulatory application and review processes, and provide grants to facilitate research and the commercial development of algae for fuels, foods, medicines, and clean water within the state.
The bill would further authorize the secretary to provide grants to eligible research institutions and commercial enterprises for research and demonstration projects leading to the commercial development of algae.
The bill would require a commercial enterprise for a demonstration project, to be eligible for a grant, to agree to a royalty or other revenue arrangement. The bill would require royalties and revenues received to be deposited into the Algae Production Program Fund, which is created by this bill.
The County originally opposed AB 642 authored by Assembly Member Charles Calderon since the Board of Supervisors and County officials were not contacted when the bill was authored since the Salton Sea is an Imperial Valley issue. The County sent a letter to Calderon expressing the concern of the County in this matter.
County Intergovernmental relations Bob Ham came to the Board on Tuesday now asking for the support of this bill since the Calderon’s staff had approached the County of Imperial, Imperial Irrigation District, Coachella Valley Water District, Riverside County, and the Salton Sea Authority.
Ham said that at the beginning they believed that this was going to bring a State Agency to take over the duties of the Salton Sea and leave the County behind but he now said that there are amendments to the bill the benefits the County. He said that in their negotiations, Calderon made concessions to the bill that would benefit the Salton Sea restoration as well as financial support to the County.
The Board of Supervisors gave its support to the bill by a vote of 5-0.