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Imperial County Board of Supervisors Advocates for Clean Energy Projects

-Editorial

In a move towards bolstering clean energy initiatives and economic development, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors has recently sent two letters of support to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for critical projects centered around lithium and geothermal energy.

The board met at their regular meeting on April 9th to lobby for projects that will support the effort of Lithium Valley. Imperial County has supported federal and state legislation that supports investment in the area and makes it easier for them to build here.

The first letter expressed the Board’s  endorsement for Project ATLiS Battery-Spec Lithium Hydroxides from Salton Sea Geothermal Brine (Project ATLiS), submitted by EnergySource Minerals, LLC (ESM), to the DOE Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

This project aims to establish a commercial lithium hydroxide production plant within the Salton Sea geothermal field, an area with untapped potential for clean energy innovation. Highlighting the socioeconomic benefits, the Board emphasizes the creation of over 220 jobs, collaboration with local educational institutions for workforce training, and significant revenue streams estimated at over $10 million annually.

“Historically, many Imperial County residents have been disparately impacted by negative economic conditions, leading to high unemployment and poverty rates and low income compared to other counties in California and the United States as a whole,” Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman Luis Plancarte said. “As the northwest portion of Imperial County becomes Lithium Valley, it is anticipated that the development will significantly help revitalize our struggling economy and uplift residents with new job and workforce training opportunities, strong county finances to improve roads and waterways, expand educational opportunities for our students, provide adequate public safety and contribute to efforts to clean up and revitalize the Salton Sea.”

Additionally, the project aligns with efforts to revitalize the Salton Sea, addressing both economic and environmental challenges faced by the region. Furthermore, the Board lauds ESM’s commitment to minimizing environmental impact through innovative processing technology, showcasing a dedication to sustainability alongside economic growth.

“The State of California has established a separate, dedicated tax revenue stream that will go directly towards clean-up efforts of the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake that has been severely impacted by the drought. Although there is much work and many stakeholders involved in resolving this challenge, ESM’s reliable contribution, through this project, would be a notable investment in the economic and environmental health of our county for generations to come,” Plancarte added in the letter.

The second letter extends support to Controlled Thermal Resources (CTR) for their Hell’s Kitchen project, seeking funding through the DOE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.

This initiative focuses on extracting critical minerals, such as lithium, from geothermal brine—a valuable resource already utilized for energy production in Imperial County. Recognizing the potential for job creation, clean energy production, and economic stimulation, the Board underscored the significance of CTR’s project in advancing both local and national interests.

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