On September 29, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 1657 sponsored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia to create a “Blue Ribbon Commission On Lithium Extraction in California”. The commission is now known as the Lithium Valley Commission.
The commission is comprised of 14 members appointed by the California Energy Commission (CEC), other state agencies, Assembly Speaker and Senate Committee on Rules.
The members are in charge of reviewing, investigating and analyzing issues, potential incentives and further details in regards to lithium extraction and its use in California.
The commission recently sent Newsom an Investment Plan letter on 5/13/22 which is a potentially crucial time given the state’s massive budget surplus.
Below is a segment of the letter addressed to Governor Newsom, Senator Hues and Assembly member Garcia:
“In order to ensure we create the environment necessary to realize the massive potential for the County, California, and the nation, we need to be both thoughtful and aggressive in our development of this opportunity. That is why the Imperial County Board of Supervisors has adopted the Lithium Valley Economic Opportunity Investment Plan (“Plan”). This Plan articulates the local, statewide, and national benefits of this endeavor. It also prescribes specific activities we believe are necessary for the County, the State, and the Federal governments to undertake in order to best capitalize on those benefits.
More specifically, we support the following elements the Plan outlines:
- the increase of the County’s delegated authority to permit geothermal power
plants from 49.9 to 99.9 MWs;
- funding of $5 million to the County for the creation of a Lithium Valley Specific
Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to assist with
providing industry with a clear timeline for project delivery;
- funding for a Lithium Valley Development Office for 10 years that will provide
direct feedback to the development on project status and shepherd projects
through the permitting and planning process;
- support and assistance in the creation of an Imperial County Severance Tax or
Resource Levy for critical minerals where the fees would be directed to infrastructure, environmental mitigation, and community enhancements;
- funding for a Cal-Poly campus in Imperial County, or similar higher education campus, or expand current or past efforts to provide the engineers and chemists needed to work in the lithium development sector;
- seed-funding for a reference lab for lithium purity testing at or near mining facilities for quality control purposes;
- annual funding for the period of 5 years for a new Go-Biz Tax Credit for lithium/rare-mineral mining at Lithium Valley”
Read more at California Energy Commission