Imperial County District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley was elected vice chair of California’s Blue-Ribbon Commission on Lithium Extraction, also known as the Lithium Valley Commission, on Thursday, March 25, according to a county press release.
The commission is comprised of 14 members representing specified industries, organizations, and communities. The commission is entrusted with analyzing and reviewing opportunities associated with lithium extraction and use in California.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to help lead this commission,” Kelley stated in the release. “I have been an advocate for lithium development for many years and am hopeful that we will see federal, state, local and private interests converging on the development of a known resource for all our future needs.”
The commission was created through Assembly Bill 1657 authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella. A report on findings and recommendations for advancing lithium extraction from geothermal brines in California to the Legislature is required to be submitted by Oct. 1, 2022.
Kelley was appointed to the commission by the California Energy Commission to “represent a local city or county government in the Salton Sea geothermal resource area.” He was elected as vice chair during the commission’s regular business meeting.
Interest in lithium is increasing thanks to its application in lithium-ion batteries, which are used to power portable electronics, electric vehicles, and other technology. Lithium is abundant around the Salton Sea area and has the potential to play an important role in the region’s future economic development.