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USIBWC Citizens Forum Board Meeting

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Posted: Friday, June 14, 2019 12:42 pm

On June 6, 2019, I attended the Citizens Forum Board Meeting which took place at 5:30 p.m. at the Tijuana Estuary Visitors Center Conference Room. The attendance was strong. Mexican officials from the North American Development Bank were on hand. The biggest admission that I have heard in a long time from Mexican officials occurred when they admitted that the sewage treatment plant at Punta Bandera is “obsolete.” Now, maybe some serious improvements may be able to be implemented to that facility, and others in Mexico. I have re-consulted with the principal engineers in the U.S. section and we all agree that this plant should be upgraded to secondary treatment, which would be a huge improvement, and would remove the threat of flows induced by a Southern current from that facility from the facility. We are experiencing that time of year now, as we head into the summer months, and more and more the shifting to the southwest of the prevailing ocean current is present. Federal EPA said their diagnostic study and plan would soon be unveiled as it was complete. Total disclosure is yet to be forthcoming. It was brought up by the policy coordinator of Surfrider, that a basis for their action in a lawsuit against the federal government was a result of a statement made by, then commissioner Ed Drusina, that no treaty violation had taken place by Mexico in the big spill of February 2017, as well as subsequent spills. It was then I was compelled to bring to the discussion, that Minute 283, recommendation 16, states that Mexico is responsible for transboundary sanitation events that originate in their country, that Mexico is responsible for stopping such transboundary events, that Mexico is responsible to effect repairs on infrastructure that have caused such events, that Mexico is responsible for communication such events, that Mexico as they happen to the United States, and that Mexico is responsible for reaching out to the United States if such events are beyond their capacity to remedy. The principle engineers and commissioner from the Mexican section have signed off on this minute. Therefore, there was, and usually is, a blatant violation of a written and signed agreement to a minute of an existing treaty. There are many infrastructure projects that are now to be discussed and implemented in the near and foreseeable future. There sees to be a flurry of activity in agencies and their counterparts to rush to tell us that final solutions are at hand, and the media is hailing this as complete and ultimate success. But, as we know all too well in the South Bay, there are too many intangibles to buy all in on this. As mentioned, Mexico has always proved to be a major liability in keeping their word and funding commitments on projects and seeing them through to finality. And, the country of Mexico has an issue with keeping facilities properly manned, funded, and maintained. Another thing is that the recent rush of activity to present solutions by many entities appears to be right on the heels of maximum pressure being applied by public outrage, including but not limited to, letters written to the president of the United States expressing disgust, and activist groups rallying in serious demonstration, calling out the governments of both countries. I wouldn’t be so quick to applaud success just yet, as we have had these high expectations in the past, and were let down in the worst way when they didn’t pan out. So let’s plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Thank you   

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