Washington, DC – Today, Representative Scott Peters (CA-50) released the following statement after the United States International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) confirmed that about 20,000 gallons of raw, untreated sewage spilled from one of their pumping stations onto Hollister Street in the South Bay. As a result, the Hollister Pump Station and collectors in nearby Smugglers Gulch and Goats Canyon were shut down resulting in additional cross-border wastewater pollution in these areas.
“The International Wastewater Treatment Plant is completely failing because the federal government has refused to address this crisis with the urgency it requires for far too long. For years we have sounded the alarm alongside the local community that this is an emergency and action is needed immediately. While the $300 million we secured in the USMCA in 2021 was a welcome and significant investment, we now know that we need much, much more to finish the job and we need it right now. More than ever, we need leaders in Washington from both parties to put aside the political budget fights and put the people who are being hurt and sickened by this catastrophe first.”
Today, Rep. Peters led two letters to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and to OMB and the State Department, respectively, calling for urgent additional funding to confront this crisis. Last month, members of the San Diego congressional delegation requested the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assist with directing environmental justice funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to help stop the flow of pollutants and urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to tour the broken plant. Earlier in July, they sent a letter to President Biden and submitted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 calling on the administration to declare this crisis a federal emergency. In June, Rep. Peters led a letter with other members of the San Diego Congressional delegation to the governor of Baja California urging accountability for the Mexican government’s commitments to build wastewater treatment infrastructure. In previous years, Peters along with colleagues, has secured funding, introduced legislation, called for investigations, and arranged a visit by EPA Administrator Regan in response to the wastewater contamination crisis. Rep. Peters plans to leave no stone unturned and continue this work with additional demands for funding through the congressional appropriations process and emergency supplemental funding in the coming days.