Home / LATEST NEWS / California State Assembly Approves AB 2757, Establishing Southeast California Economic Region

California State Assembly Approves AB 2757, Establishing Southeast California Economic Region

-Editorial

On Wednesday, May 22, the California State Assembly voted to approve Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and Senator Steve Padilla’s (D-San Diego) AB 2757, officially establishing the Southeast California Economic Region. This new designation is set to enhance competitiveness for federal, state, and local funding, particularly benefiting Lithium Valley and clean energy development in Eastern Riverside County and Imperial County communities.

The legislation builds on recommendations from the Lithium Valley Commission (AB 1657, Garcia), encompassing the Imperial County, Eastern Coachella Valley, and Palo Verde areas. These regions share unique economic demographics, challenges, and significant potential for solar, wind, geothermal, and lithium development.

“As global demand for lithium rises and California aims to meet its zero-emission vehicle goals, this legislation will bolster Lithium Valley’s economic development, create jobs, and attract vital resources to develop the energy infrastructure envisioned for our community,” stated Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “After years of preparation, we must seize this transformative opportunity to uplift our economically underserved region, improve residents’ quality of life, and position our district as a global leader in the emerging energy sector.”

Senator Steve Padilla echoed this sentiment, highlighting the potential for profound change in the region. “The Lithium Valley is on the brink of a foundational economic transformation. Establishing an economic hub will facilitate coordination between all levels of government, bringing investment and high-paying union jobs to our community,” he said.

AB 2757 has garnered support from the County of Imperial, Comite Civico del Valle, Alianza Coachella Valley, and a coalition of other community and workforce organizations.

Imperial County Chairman Luis A. Plancarte praised the bill’s passage, calling it a monumental step forward. “This designation enhances our competitiveness for critical funding and positions Imperial County at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. The collaboration between state and local governments, alongside community and workforce organizations, will drive job creation and economic growth, particularly in Lithium Valley,” Plancarte said.

Luis Olmedo, Executive Director of Comite Civico del Valle, emphasized the need for a definitive economic development designation that fosters economic relationships while protecting the local environment.

Silvia Paz, Executive Director for Alianza Coachella Valley and former Chair of the Lithium Valley Commission expressed satisfaction with the support for the commission’s recommendations. “Designating the Salton Sea region as an economic zone strengthens our competitiveness for investments needed to realize the lithium industry potential beyond an extractive economy and for the benefit of our local communities,” she said.

In partnership with the County of Imperial, Assemblymember Garcia has also advanced AB 2922 to the State Senate, aiming to reinstate access to the Capital Investment Incentive Program (CIIP), which provides crucial economic tools to support Lithium Valley development.

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