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Imperial County Testifies in Sacramento About the Potential of Lithium


Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Ryan Kelley, provided a detailed testimony before the California State Assembly Joint Hearing of the Utilities and Energy Committee and Select Committee on California’s Lithium Economy on Aug. 15. This committee is chaired by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

In his testimony, Kelley highlighted the geothermal and lithium development incentives, Lithium Valley Specific Plan, and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report. These efforts are just a select few of the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors in their commitment to ensure Imperial County becomes a significant player in the global lithium market.

“The Imperial County and Known Geothermal Resource Area at the Salton Sea are one of the multiple resources for geothermal energy in Imperial County. The potential for more baseload renewable power in Imperial County is well beyond what is being talked about today,” stated Chairman Kelley during his testimony, “We have been talking to battery and cathode companies, so what I feel I can say comfortably is that there will be new geothermal power generation in Imperial County, there will be mineral extraction in Imperial County. Manufacturing is an open question in my mind because there has to be policy direction and coordination now…I’m happy we’re having the conversation today, but there’s more, there’s a resource that’s here in my backyard, so let’s make use of it.”

Assembly members showed keen interest in Lithium Valley, asking detailed questions about environmental safeguards, potential market value, and projected timelines. The testimony signifies a decisive moment for Lithium Valley’s future and places Imperial County on the map as a burgeoning center for clean energy resources.

Jose Luis Olmedo from Comite Civico Del Valle said that there need to be investments that benefit the community since Imperial County needs them to overcome the challenges.

“Let’s invest in the technology so we can be an example for many other companies around the world,” Olmedo said. “We need that investment and environment mitigation. We have a lot of potential.”

Over the past few years, the County has been actively engaging with stakeholders, including community-based organizations, industry representatives, governmental entities, and academic professionals, in formal and informal settings, to develop a plan that will promote and facilitate economic development while addressing the needs of the community

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