FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jack Gallagher
Assemblymember David Alvarez Introduces Legislative Package to Direct Additional Resources to Combat Cross-Border Sewage Pollution and to Improve Water Quality in Imperial Beach
(Sacramento, CA) –Assemblymember David Alvarez (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bills 1596 and 1597 to direct additional state resources to address cross-border pollution stemming from Mexico and to address ocean water quality along the Southern California coast.
"California's border regions have been facing an environmental disaster for far too long," said Assemblymember Alvarez. "The State cannot continue to ignore the pollution contaminating our beach communities. Imperial Beach has been closed for more than 200 days each year for the past three years due to contamination, impacting the quality of life and public health. California needs to be a partner along with the federal and local governments on both sides of the border in order for us to successfully combat cross-border pollution."
AB-1596 will direct the State Water Resources Control Board to identify and implement projects that address ocean water quality on public beaches that have experienced significant closures due to bacteria levels that exceed public health standards. A recent study published by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography identified 76% of potentially infectious airborne bacteria found in Imperial Beach are linked to cross-border pollution, which demonstrates the impact is greater than just water quality.
AB-1597 will provide $50 million to the North American Development Bank (NADBank) for projects in Mexico, improving water quality and reducing cross-border flows impacting our beaches and estuary. The funding will be prioritized for projects that receive resources from all levels of government on both sides of the border.
NADBank is a bi-national organization established in 1994 following the enactment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Since its inception, NADBank has leveraged over $3.5 billion to support 295 infrastructure projects mainly focused on long-term environmental sustainability along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Thank you to Assemblymember David Alvarez for his commitment to find ways to improve the water quality of California-Mexico cross-border rivers," said Calixto Mateos Hanel, Managing Director of NADBank. "Throughout its history, NADBank has been an important institution to address cross-border issues through the financing of environmental infrastructure; all the while, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. We look forward to accelerating our efforts through this collaboration to sustainably resolve the issue of transboundary flows for all those who have been impacted."
The bill is expected to be heard in committee in the coming weeks. Assemblymember Alvarez is hopeful that the legislature will take action to address this critical issue and ensure that California's border communities have access to clean air and water.
The 80th Assembly District includes the communities of Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, Sherman Heights, Lincoln Acres, Bonita, Otay Mesa and San Ysidro, along with the cities of Chula Vista, National City and Imperial Beach.
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