County To Join Legal Effort To Stop Border Sewage Spills
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Board of Supervisors votes to file Notice of Intent to Sue on Tijuana River Valley sewage flows
SAN DIEGO – County Supervisor Greg Cox announced today that the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has voted to file a notice of intent to sue to stop damaging sewage spills that have fouled the Tijuana River Valley and nearby beaches.
“Enough is enough,” said Supervisor Cox, who represents the area. “We’ve exhausted all our efforts to resolve this terrible situation and it’s time we force those responsible to once and for all fix this problem.”
The Board of Supervisors voted in closed session Tuesday to join a growing legal effort against the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC), a government agency that applies the boundary and water treaties of the United States and Mexico.
In February, a sewage spill from Mexico estimated by some sources to have been more than 143 million gallons fouled the Tijuana River Valley and resulted in the temporary closure of beaches from Imperial Beach to Coronado due to the high levels of pollution.
After that, the City of Imperial Beach, joined later by Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego, filed a notice of intent to sue the IBWC and one of its contractors for violations of the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The City of San Diego also joined that effort last week.
“Communication is restricted following the notice of intent to sue and I wanted to make sure we had exhausted all our options through both the federal legislative and executive branches,” Cox said.
Cox worked on bipartisan legislative efforts to resolve this matter, including a recent bill by Congressmen Juan Vargas and Darrell Issa. He has been personally meeting with the top leadership at the federal Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Navy Region Southwest.
“Talking about this can only take us so far,” Cox said. “At some point, we have to take action to protect the health, water quality and economy of South County and our region. I want to thank my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for taking this step.”