Imperial County big winner in California budget revision

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Drilling for lithium and geothermal has begun at the Salton Sea in an area known for geothermal energy production near Niland, Calif., on Nov. 3, 2021.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to add substantial funds to the 2022-23 budget to accelerate development of a potential huge global supply of lithium and clean energy at the south end of the Salton Sea.

The multi-pronged package would fund a new Imperial County college campus, aid county and private planning with grants and tax incentives, construct large new transmission lines in the Imperial and Coachella valleys, and could create a permanent lithium production fee, with most going to local coffers. It also includes proposals to streamline geothermal permitting in “Lithium Valley,” a major development zone in Imperial County.

“Lithium Valley represents an extraordinary economic opportunity for the Imperial Valley and all of California, with the potential to power the transition to clean energy and zero-emission vehicles nationwide — and beyond,” Newsom said. “We’re doubling down on our progress with new investments to develop Lithium Valley while keeping our values of inclusive, green growth and sustainability front and center to ensure communities in the region share in the benefits.”



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