On Friday, October 6, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 507 to provide additional funds to San Diego County to support solutions to sewage in the Tijuana River Valley. The bill provides $2.1 million from the California Wildlife, Coastal, and Park Land Conservation Fund to be used several ways.

First, funds are available for the development, improvement, rehabilitation, protection, and restoration of natural and park lands in the Tijuana River Valley. Second, they can be used for the development of a campground in the river valley. Third, two studies have been funded. The bill was authored by State Senator Ben Hueso and State Assembly member Todd Gloria.

Local communities are seeking additional solutions to the ongoing sewage contamination in the valley. Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and the Port of San Diego have filed notice with the federal government that they intend to sue over the damage caused by sewage spills in February and March. They allege violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The City and County of San Diego have said that they will join the suit. Additionally, the local border patron union is contemplating a lawsuit because their members are exposed to the contaminated sewage when they are policing the border.

An added difficulty is that the House of Representatives is seeking to eliminate the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program as part of their cuts to the EPA. This program has supported infrastructure upgrades on both sides of the border for years.

Each year we give special focus to an area of law intrinsic to the fabric of San Diego county’s culture, history, and modern day life. 2017 is our Year of Border Law.