Imperial Beach City Council Candidate Question #5:
“Here’s a blank check … one project, one person, one program … what do you create for the City of Imperial Beach and why?”
If given a blank check I would be delighted to use it to solve our biggest problem in Imperial Beach, cross border pollution. I would fill it in for $250 million and put $200 million toward the remaining shortfall in the $630 million Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) comprehensive plan and set of projects. I would save $50 million in an investment account to pay out $3 million annually for future maintenance to finally and completely eliminate this long standing problem of cross border pollution.
This issue has been ongoing for decades and our city council over the last 8 years has worked tirelessly on this issue. They ended up filing a lawsuit against the federal government to get the attention it deserves. And, it worked. The EPA during the last administration identified a combination of projects that would end the problem at a price tag of $630 million. They came up with $300 million from the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement (USMCA), which the current administration has continued to support.
Meanwhile, Mexico recently pledged an additional $144 million to address the problem. For details you can read a recent KPBS article https://www.kpbs.org/news/environment/2022/08/18/mexico-and-u-s-agree-to-clean-up-cross-border-pollution. And a great article in the San Diego Reader US and Mexico Sign Promises to Curb Cross-Border Sewage Spills By my math, this leaves a shortfall of about $200 million, give or take for inflation and normal cost overruns. Add the $50 million for guaranteed maintenance over time and we have our long term solution!
Vol. 38, No. 44 - Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022