IID: Jobs more vital than sea

October 23, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Members of the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors spoke out against the use of fallowing as a means to generate water to save the ailing Salton Sea.

The criticism follows last week's release of an economic impact study of the effects of fallowing in the Imperial Valley. The study was conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation and the Salton Sea Authority.

The study says a minimum of 1 percent of the local work force would lose their jobs to generate enough water to make up for that quantity slated for transfer from the IID to the San Diego County Water Authority.

Director Andy Horne, who is also a Salton Sea Authority board member, said the number of people likely to lose their jobs to fallowing for the sea is closer to 3 to 4 percent, or between 1,200 and 2,000. He urged the IID board to adopt a resolution against fallowing and said he supports saving the sea but not at the expense of local jobs.


Director Bruce Kuhn also spoke against fallowing.

"Those who support it are not on this board," he said, adding that those "water pigs" outside of the Imperial Valley who want the Valley's water can "go to hell. It's time to take the gloves off and come out swinging."

Kuhn said the IID should ask the county Board of Supervisors to adopt a resolution against fallowing, in spite of recent press reports quoting one supervisor apparently in favor of fallowing. When asked if he meant Supervisor Wally Leimgruber, who was quoted by this paper as saying fallowing is a "viable alternative" for saving the sea, Kuhn would only say the person was "quoted publicly."

In other action, the IID board:

l approved renaming the El Centro Generating Station after long-time Imperial Valley farmer and former IID board member Don Cox.

El Centro resident Vicente Palacio spoke against it, arguing there are other people more worthy of such an honor, including Palacio's father, a longtime district worker, and two IID workers who have died while on the job.

The board voted to develop guidelines for any future naming of district facilities.

l set three public workshops for next year's budget. All workshops begin at 5 p.m. The first is Nov. 5 for a joint workshop. The next is Nov. 8 for the water department, and the last is Nov. 13 for the power department. All will be held in the district's El Centro auditorium.

l set two public hearings to discuss the district's energy cost adjustment. The ECA was established to reflect the fluctuation between the budgeted cost of fuel and purchased power and the actual costs as they are determined.

The hearings are both at 5 p.m. The first is Dec. 3 in El Centro, and the second is Dec. 4 in La Quinta.

l approved minor changes to the bylaws for the district's power consumers advisory committee.

l approved the urban water management plans for the cities of Brawley, Calexico and El Centro.

l approved a leave policy for district personnel who are serving in the military.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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