San Diego Delegation Announces Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution Bill Package
CHULA VISTA, CA. (July 22, 2019) – Today, Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51) along with Reps. Susan Davis (CA-53), Scott Peters (CA-52), and Mike Levin (CA-49), hosted a press conference to announce the introduction of their Tijuana River Valley Pollution Solution bill package. The combined legislation would further support mitigation efforts in the region.
“We have an environmental crisis in San Diego. For years, the cross-border flows of wastewater, trash, and sediment coming from the Tijuana River have plagued our region, disrupting the lives of residents, servicemembers, and visitors,” said Rep. Juan Vargas. “Today, the San Diego Delegation is proud to introduce a comprehensive bill package to support mitigation efforts in the Tijuana River Valley. Together, we are taking meaningful action towards reducing, and one day hopefully, eliminating cross-border pollution from flowing into the United States.”
“We need a whole of government approach to this issue,” said Rep. Susan Davis. “With the Navy set to build a multi-billion dollar Navy SEAL training facility just miles from the mouth of the Tijuana River, we must be sure future spills don’t impact their training. The Navy should take a leading role in the mitigation of cross-border spills, discharges, and debris that could impact national security interests of the United States.”
“For years, cross-border sewage spills have threatened San Diego’s environment, public health, and quality of life,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “Today, we are taking a comprehensive approach to address the crisis. We must prioritize funding for projects that specifically address water pollution, wastewater treatment, and water conservation to reduce the risk of sewage flows.”
“The greater San Diego region has battled pollution from the Tijuana River Valley for years, with sewage and garbage contaminating our waters and desecrating our beaches,” said Rep. Mike Levin. “Concrete, substantive action to address this issue and protect our environment is long overdue. My legislation will ensure that California finally receives its fair share of federal resources to tackle the cross-border pollution, and I am glad to partner with my San Diegan colleagues on this effort.”
Rep. Juan Vargas and Rep. Scott Peters presented their North American Development Bank Pollution Solution Act. The bill aims to help overcome the existing financial burden stalling mitigation efforts in the Tijuana River Valley through expanding funding opportunities within NAD Bank. Specifically, by:
- Increasing NAD Bank’s capital by $1.5 billion dollars to finance infrastructure projects.
- Directing NAD Bank to prioritize projects related to wastewater treatment, water conservation, and water pollution.
- Urging NAD Bank to streamline and accelerate these types of projects.
- Establishing within NAD Bank the U.S.-Mexico Border Public Health Trust Fund where federal agencies can deposit unallocated funding to design, implement, and finance environment infrastructure projects relating to wastewater treatment, water conservation, and municipal solid waste along the United States-Mexico border.
Rep. Susan Davis unveiled her Tijuana River Navy Impact resolution to encourage the Department of the Navy to take a leading role in the mitigation of cross-border spills, discharges, and debris in the Tijuana River that impact national security interests of the United States.
Rep. Mike Levin announced his Border Water Infrastructure Improvement Act. This legislation seeks to:
- Increase the authorization for the Border Water Infrastructure Fund to $150 million dollars a year for the next five years.
- Change the current division of funding to fifty-fifty between the U.S Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 and Region 9.
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 fourth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee.