April 14, 2017

Rep. Vargas Toured the Tijuana River Sewage Spill, Calls for Crucial Funding for Cross-Border Infrastructure Improvement Program

San Diego, CA (April 14, 2017)—Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) toured the areas affected by the recent sewage spill into the Tijuana River. Rep. Vargas has expressed strong support for essential Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) U.S.-Mexico border programs and is urging Congress to allocate $5 million in funding  for the U.S. Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program. This program, which would help prevent future spills, has been cut in President Trump’s budget blueprint.

“The recent sewage spill into the Tijuana River is one of the worst spills our region has experienced and it is endangering public health and closing beaches in our community,” said Rep. Vargas. “It is crucial to protect the funding for the U.S. Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program and promote binational cooperation in order to prevent future spills from impacting our region.”

On March 1, 2017, Rep. Vargas and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asking for an investigation into the causes of the spill and for the EPA to work with the communities affected.

“Instead of cutting funding for major EPA programs that positively impact millions of Americans, President Trump should be prioritizing funding for programs that will keep our beaches open and free from pollution,” said Rep. Vargas. “I will continue working to protect funding for crucial programs that greatly benefit our communities and help prevent environmental disasters.”

Rep. Vargas led a letter with Democratic members of the San Diego Congressional delegation urging the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior and Environment Subcommittee (which writes legislation setting the EPA’s annual budget) to fund border programs that are fundamental to making cross-border infrastructure improvements and reject President Trump’s proposed EPA cuts that could lead to future spills.

Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and California’s entire U.S./Mexico border.  Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his third term in Congress.  He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.