Senator Hueso Introduces Joint Resolution Urging State to Sue Federal Government over Cross-Border Pollution in the Tijuana River Valley
San Diego, CA – March 16, 2018 – Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) today introduced a resolution in the California State Legislature calling on Governor Jerry Brown’s Administration to initiate a lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to properly address the flow of raw sewage and wastewater that continually pours over the border from Tijuana into San Diego County.
“While the federal government is requesting billions of dollars to build a wall at the border, it has failed repeatedly to act on this serious contamination issue that has plagued the Tijuana River Valley, Imperial Beach residents, businesses and tourism in the San Diego region for 30 years”, said Senator Hueso. “The federal government’s ineffectiveness can no longer be tolerated. We need to enforce water quality standards to ensure the health and safety of residents in San Diego County is made a priority at the federal level.”
Senate Joint Resolution No. 22 would urge the federal government and the United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) to take immediate action to adequately address cross-border pollution in the Tijuana River Valley, and would urge the State of California to join various entities in the County of San Diego in initiating a lawsuit over matters within the state’s jurisdiction.
The City of Imperial Beach, the Port of San Diego and other cities have expressed intentions to sue the IBWC for its failure to act on this critical public health and environmental issue. Until now, the State of California has not joined these efforts. Senator Hueso will be speaking with the Governor, the Attorney General, and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board in the next week to make this a state priority.
“Joining regional efforts to initiate a lawsuit with our municipal, port and county counterparts will give us the leverage and strength as a group to demand immediate action”, said Hueso.
For 30 years, millions of gallons of wastewater, sediment and trash have poured into the area's coastal waters with no effective diversion system in place. February 2017 had one of the largest raw sewage spills, with more than 140 million gallons flowing into the Tijuana River Valley and Estuary; and every month thereafter, the spills have recurred. The dangerous contaminants are putting the public's health at serious risk, and are killing scores of wildlife. The toxic waste has also negatively impacted the economy of the region. Property values are below market value and businesses in the area have closed because of a decline in tourism.