Voice: State leadership trying to rob our water and foul our air, Maruca says

May 10, 2002

Most mornings I wake up angry about something over which I have no control and can't solve even though it needs solving. For a long time the power plants in Mexicali and the pending water transfer as well as the Salton Sea issue have been sticking in my throat like a bad tumor that won't go away and the doctors can't fix. When I read Bret Kofford's outstanding commentary on the water transfer and the governor's attitude toward us, I thought I must also have my say, so here it is:

During this past year when dealing with the power plants in Mexico, the gas pipeline through our county and now the water transfer, I have become convinced that Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante are ready and willing to turn Imperial County into another Owens Valley to appease the water and power hunger of coastal cities.

First, they permit Sempra gas to bring gas through our county in a pipeline to supply two power plants in Mexicali. In these two plants are eight generators of which six sell electricity directly to San Diego or onto the grid. Those six generators have state-of-the-art scrubbers on their stacks to help DIMINISH, not eliminate the amount of pollutants released into the air of the Mexicali and Imperial valleys.


The other two generators have no controls on them, with the power to be sold to CFE, the Mexican power entity. The secret is CFE regularly sells power to San Diego, so these polluting generators will be selling dirty power to the United States. This is a fact seldom mentioned. Bustamante, the lieutenant governor, is a member of the State Lands Commission, a three-member board that voted unanimously to permit the pipeline to progress through our county, and did so without a whimper.

Mr. Bustamante has been in the Valley several times posing as a champion of the people.

When one considers that we already have twice the asthma rate of the entire state, this compounds the problem. Also, when looking at this statistic, one must consider that the number of reported cases are based upon those treated here in the county. It does not include those who go directly to San Diego for treatment. As a consequence, it may be logical to assume our rate of asthma and other respiratory ailments is even higher.

Then we have the issue of the water. The governor says, "Fallow," and now our water is under siege. We are being charged with possibly fallowing land to save the Salton Sea and to supply water for the growth of Palm Springs and San Diego. Does the great dipper stop there? I don't think so. It is my theory that once we fallow, a more serious raid on our water will begin.

I lived in the Owens Valley, Bishop, Lee Vining, and Mammoth Lakes area for nearly 20 years and I saw firsthand how the lack of water destroyed the economic viability of an entire region. For the nearly 100 years since L.A. stole the water from Inyo County, there has been nothing taking place there except the building of an occasional hotel or new fast food restaurant.

In my estimation, that is what Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante have in mind for us, and we must do all that we can to keep these water thieves at bay.

Do we fallow to promote the growth of coastal cites? Do we sit back and permit our air to be polluted to satisfy the power hunger of the same cities? No, hell no. We must do all we can to turn this situation around. Our land, our water, our way of life and the very air we breathe is as sacred as theirs. We are not second class and we will not be treated as such.


District 3 county supervisor

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