Gov. Gavin Newsom says the sewage crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border does not qualify as an emergency under state statute and that is why he has not issued a declaration. So members of the California Coastal Commission, following a visit Wednesday to the South Bay area affected by the ongoing toxic pollution, agreed to consider asking President Joe Biden to proclaim one.
It was awesome to see so many local elected officials finally have their “aha!” moment on the South Bay sewage nightmare in June and complain so loudly and uniformly that the federal government’s response has been woefully inadequate. But any inclination to start handing out kudos should be tempered by a reality that in retrospect seems unfathomable: For years, many of these same leaders essentially accepted broken Tijuana sewage infrastructure constantly fouling our coast from the Mexican border to Coronado.
The Hermits Peak-Calf Canyon fire last year burned more than 340,000 acres in northern New Mexico, leaving the air smoky, the land barren and water systems clogged with ash. To this day, water pollution continues to put the health of more than 13,000 residents of Las Vegas, New Mexico, at risk.
It’s been more than 550 days since the ocean water at Imperial Beach has been safe for swimmers and surfers.
Between wastewater treatment plant repairs and expansions, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but city leaders say all hands on deck are needed to make progress.
Board of Supervisors Chair Nora Vargas and Vice Chair Terra Lawson-Remer are asking the board to declare a local state of emergency over cross-border pollution that has fouled San Diego beaches, in hopes of to expediting cleanup and prompting a federal emergency declaration.
Imperial Beach urgently needs federal funding to put an end to the Tijuana River’s ongoing sewage spill that’s kept portions of the city’s beaches closed, Mayor Paloma Aguirre wrote in a letter to the White House.
Seeking a federal state of emergency status for the continued pollution, Mayor Aguirre called on the Biden administration to declare the emergency for the shoreline of Imperial Beach and the Tijuana River Valley. Such a proclamation would expedite funding and projects across federal agencies to tackle the source of the issue.
For more than a decade Imperial Beach has been contaminated with bacteria flowing in from Mexico.
“I don’t feel safe letting my kids go into the water because it’s all polluted, and it’s sad,” said Carla Diaz, a former Imperial Beach resident.
Hungarian writer and poet Sándor Márai published a description of the San Diego-Tijuana region in 1964. His chronicle provides details of the conditions that surround the U.S.-Mexico border. He compares the streets of California packed with automobiles and Tijuana’s dusty, cluttered, noisy avenues. The Tijuana pedestrians were everywhere and the difference caught his attention because seeing a person walking in California was “suspicious.” That’s how the poet makes an urban cross-border description, according to a fragment translated into Spanish by Rafael Muñoz.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) have released a final environmental impact statement for a set of proposed projects to mitigate transborder water pollution between San Diego and Tijuana.
Congressional staffers who helped craft the landmark Clean Water Act 50 years ago acknowledge they left a big hole in the law — one that’s now blamed for the single largest pollution source in streams, rivers and lakes.
Nonpoint-source pollution — a technocratic term describing pesticides, oil, fertilizers, toxins, sediment and grime that storms wash into waterways from land — still befuddles federal regulators to this day.