CALIPATRIA, Calif. — From a high spot on Red Hill, the Salton Sea shimmers below in the desert sun and nearby geothermal power plants send plumes of steam into the clear blue sky. Also visible are miles of dried-out shoreline as the waterway evaporates and grows more toxic.
The Salton Sea, a 343-square-mile lake created from Colorado River flooding in 1905, is now known mostly for its fouled waters from agricultural runoff and alarming salt levels. But during its heyday in the 1950s and '60s, it drew millions of visitors and rivaled nearby Palm Springs and Yosemite National Park as a destination.
Now, a new boom is near that could affect the future of North American automaking.