TRONA, Calif. — On Friday, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority held a public hearing to determine the results of a Proposition 218 protest vote and assess the community’s opposition to the Authority’s proposed Replenishment Fee.
The total number of Proposition 218 protest votes submitted by the public were not disclosed by the Authority.
The proposed Fee is intended to cover the estimated cost to purchase imported water rights to help balance the region’s over-drafted groundwater basin.
The fee would increase Searles’ water costs by 7,000% or approximately $6 million per year, pushing the company to extinction.
We appreciate Chairman Gleason’s acknowledgment of Searles’ water right priority in the basin, and his offer to work with us to find a solution that will allow Searles to continue operating as an economic engine and pillar of this community. Today’s unprecedented level of community participation underscores the very real economic impacts this fee will have on local residents and businesses like ours. As we have done for over 140 years, we will continue working to maintain operations – particularly during one of our country’s worst recessions – and preserve the good-paying, essential jobs of our 700 employees.