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SB-615 Salton Sea restoration. (2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/01/2017 09:00 PM
SB615:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  May 01, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 615


Introduced by Senator Hueso
(Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia)

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Sections 2930 and 2940 of, to amend the heading of Chapter 13 (commencing with Section 2930) of Division 3 of, and to add Section 2942.1 to, the Fish and Game Code, relating to the Salton Sea, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 615, as amended, Hueso. Salton Sea restoration.
The Salton Sea Restoration Act requires the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, in consultation and coordination with the Salton Sea Authority, to lead Salton Sea restoration efforts. The act, to the extent that funding is appropriated to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for Salton Sea restoration activities, authorizes the Department of Water Resources, in coordination and under agreement with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, to undertake certain restoration efforts. The act authorizes the Salton Sea Authority to lead a feasibility study, in coordination and under contract with the Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, as prescribed.
This bill would require the Natural Resources Agency, by January 1, 2018, to develop a 10-year plan to implement the memorandum of understanding between the agency and the United States Department of the Interior entered into on August 31, 2016, and its addendum, entered into on January 18, 2017, and would require the agency to address certain issues in the plan. The bill would rename the Salton Sea Restoration Act as the “John J. Benoit Salton Sea Restoration Act.”
This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The heading of Chapter 13 (commencing with Section 2930) of Division 3 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:
CHAPTER  13. John J. Benoit Salton Sea Restoration Act

SEC. 2.

 Section 2930 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2930.
 This chapter shall be known known, and may be cited cited, as the John J. Benoit Salton Sea Restoration Act.

SEC. 3.

 Section 2940 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:

2940.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Salton Sea is California’s largest inland water body with beneficial uses that include fisheries and wildlife habitat and preservation of endangered species, and is a repository for agricultural drainage.
(b) The Salton Sea ecosystem is a critical link on the international Pacific Flyway and supports over 400 species of birds.
(c) The Salton Sea is threatened by increasing salinity and reduced inflows. These Mitigation water inflows ordered by the State Water Resources Control Board in 2002 will expire at the end of 2017. Combined, these changes increasingly threaten the unparalleled wildlife resources at the sea, as well as air quality in the region.
(d) In cooperation with local governments, nonprofit organizations, private businesses, and the public, the Salton Sea Authority State of California can help protect wildlife habitats and endangered species, improve water and air quality, and enhance recreational opportunities in the region.
(e) The state State of California and the United States Department of the Interior committed through a memorandum of understanding signed on August 31, 2016, to protect the ecological values of the Salton Sea and to prevent dust emissions from at least 25,000 acres of lakebed exposed by reduced agricultural inflows resulting from the implementation of the Quantification Settlement Agreement.
(f) In restoring the Salton Sea, it is the intent of the Legislature to do all of the following:
(1) Protect and provide long-term conservation of fish and wildlife that are dependent on the Salton Sea ecosystem.
(2) Restore the long-term stable aquatic and shoreline habitat for fish and wildlife that depend on the Salton Sea.
(3) Mitigate air quality impacts from restoration projects using the best available technology or best available control measures, as determined by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District.
(4) Protect water quality.
(5) Maintain the Salton Sea as a vital link along the Pacific Flyway.
(6) Preserve local tribal heritage and cultural values associated with the Salton Sea.
(7) Minimize noxious odors and other water and air quality problems.
(8) Coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies that are responsible for air quality, endangered species, and other environmental mitigation implementation requirements of the Quantification Settlement Agreement.
(9) Enhance economic development opportunities that will provide sustainable financial improvements benefiting the local environment and the economic quality of life for communities around the Salton Sea.

SEC. 4.

 Section 2942.1 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

2942.1.
 By January 1, 2018, the agency shall develop a 10-year plan to implement the memorandum of understanding between the agency and the United States Department of the Interior entered into on August 31, 2016, and its addendum, entered into on January 18, 2017. The agency shall address all of the following in the plan:
(a) Expected lakebed exposure during the 10-year period of the memorandum of understanding.
(b) Habitat or air quality projects that will be used to cover the exposed lakebed.
(c) Funding needs and availability to implement the plan.

SEC. 5.

 Owing to the critical importance of a viable roadmap for the future of the Salton Sea, the Legislature recognizes the essential role of the State Water Resources Control Board in the exercise of its original jurisdiction with regard to the restoration of the Salton Sea. To this end, the Legislature further recognizes that timely implementation of a 10-year plan for a smaller but sustainable Salton Sea is best served and effectuated through the State Water Resources Control Board’s continuing jurisdiction over this evolving subject matter and its attendant restoration efforts.

SEC. 5.SEC. 6.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to begin implementing the memorandum of understanding between the state State of California and the United States Department of the Interior, which would address environmental and health impacts relating to the Salton Sea, at the earliest possible date, it is necessary for this act to take immediate effect.