Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) released the following statement after the International Boundary & Water Commission completed its report on the Tijuana sewage spill that closed beaches and threatened public health in February:
“I appreciate the thorough work by Commissioner Drusina and his staff at the International Boundary and Water Commission to get answers and suggest changes to help prevent this type of massive spill from happening again.
“Local and state Mexican authorities acknowledged that by keeping their American colleagues in the dark for too long they prevented assistance that could have accelerated repairs, and have committed to make changes so they don’t repeat the error. They’ve also identified concrete steps to improve their reporting and communication. For my part, I intend to see how we might use existing agreements and trade negotiations to enforce those changes.
“According to this report, there are dozens of sewage lines along the border at serious risk of failing and causing more spills. President Trump’s budget blueprint guts one of the existing programs designed to help repair these pipes – a program designed to keep sewage out of U.S. waterways. Rep. Vargas and I are urging Congress to reject these cuts so that we can continue to improve sewage infrastructure along the border, protect public health, and help prevent future sewage spills.”
Two weeks ago, Rep. Peters raised the alarm that President Trump’s budget proposal completely eliminates funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program – a bi-national partnership that provides grants for water infrastructure projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. According to a letter that the EPA sent to Reps. Peters and Vargas, the programs have been used to coordinate and fund repairs to sewage infrastructure that is at risk of rupturing and causing spills. Last Friday, Reps. Peters and Vargas led a letter to the House Appropriations Committee’s Interior and Environment Subcommittee, which writes the annual legislation that sets the EPA’s budget, and urged them to reject these cuts and provide robust funding to continue supporting border water infrastructure improvements.