Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) announced a $1.17 million Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to address one of the wastewater collectors that failed and caused major sewage spills that continue to flow into San Diego waterways and beaches. Rep. Peters has fought to preserve the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP), which is the funding mechanism for water infrastructure projects, like the ones announced today.
“Sewage flowing from the Tijuana River has closed our beaches, threatened the public health of San Diegans and our military, and hurt our economy,” said Rep. Peters. “As a bi-national region, it is going to take investments from both sides of the border to prevent spills and this partnership offers both the United States and Mexico a way to fix the wastewater collectors that failed and reduce the risk of future spills.”
The grant is an agreement between the North American Development Bank (NADB), a binational financial institution funded by equal amounts of capital stock from the United States and Mexico, and the local water utility, Comisión de Servicios Públicos de Tijuana (CESPT) to fix one of the main wastewater collectors, Collector Poniente. The funds are administered by the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program, which Rep. Peters has fought to protect.
Rep. Peters continued, “Part of the problem with these sewage spills was the breakdown in communication between Mexico and the U.S. We didn’t know for days. The national rhetoric coming from some has hurt our international relationships. In San Diego, we value our relationship with Mexico and we want to continue to work with Mexico as a valuable regional partner so we can solve this problem.”
Rep. Peters has worked to support funding and programs to address the Tijuana sewage spill and strengthen our partnership with Mexico to ensure environmental and public health on both sides of the border.
Last year, Rep. Peters worked with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and the entire San Diego congressional delegation to raise the alarm when the president’s budget eliminated the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program. Together, they fought to protect the program. He also sent a letter to United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer asking that renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement include stronger environmental protections, including a commitment from the Mexican government to invest in wastewater infrastructure. Most recently, he advocated for $10 million in funding for the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program, which was included in the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month. The grant announced today was funded by this $10 million.