Author: Ryan

The Salton Sea and its Environmental Impact

The Salton Sea and its Environmental Impact

Salton Sea cleanup in jeopardy as states battle over Colorado River water

The Salton Sea, the world’s largest lake of toxic pollution, and its adjacent beach have become a major battleground for environmental policy and politics today.

The sea and its surrounding lands, home to 3,000 species of bird, hundreds of species of fish, and at least 20,000 species of plant, would now be subject to hundreds of millions of dollars of pollution cleanup costs, many of which would come with some hefty financial penalties for each day when toxic pollution wasn’t cleaned up.

But as state officials in California and the other six states surrounding Mexico fight over the use of water released from their dams, the state could lose billions of dollars in potential funding for cleanups and still not reach the promised $20 million, a potential drop in a bucket for the state of California alone.

Here’s a rundown of the four states and what they may ask for, and what they might get.


Last year, Arizona asked the State Department of Justice for federal assistance for environmental remediation of its 1,200-acre (463-hectare) Superfund site at Camp Bullis.

A Superfund site is a government-designated hazardous waste site. Its cleanup costs are borne by the federal government. In the decades after its discovery in the 1970s, Superfund sites were responsible for a quarter of the nation’s annual $19 billion cleanups.

Arizona’s federal grant request to the State Department of Justice called for approximately $12.1 million in costs.

The state says the request was largely supported by an $8.3 million funding commitment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which it says is currently underused. But, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, FEMA is currently paying only 60 percent of its promised funding for two of the three stages of a proposed cleanup of the state’s Superfund site.

And while the state says that money is now committed, according to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, FEMA’s “immediate action” is needed.

The state Department of Environmental Quality declined to make FEMA’s work available for a request for comment, saying they “may have an internal policy that does not allow us to release FEMA’s internal documents.”

What is the Camp Bullis Superfund site?


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