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Only so much information could fit in my story today on the Bajagua report released yesterday. Several interesting points didn’t make the cut.
Bruce Reznik, executive director of San Diego Coastkeeper, said his organization’s board of directors is expected to take a position next month on Bajagua. The environmental group has remained neutral on the sewage-treatment plant.
“We almost need to disengage Bajagua from the debate,” Reznik told me yesterday. “Most people recognize Bajagua would add some benefit to the water quality. It’s not going to fix the whole problem. We need to move beyond Bajagua and figure out what the steps are to address a regional solution.”
That solution would have to address the larger problem that sits at the root of the sewage pollution that washes up on the shores of Imperial Beach and Coronado: the thousands of Tijuana homes without proper indoor plumbing.
In his report, environmental attorney Cory Briggs calls for reforming the International Boundary and Water Commission or creating a regional planning agency focused exclusively on long-term environmental planning on both sides of the border.
Bob Kelly, president and CEO of the San Diego Foundation, which funded the report, said the local philanthropy may take steps to address one of Briggs’ broader recommendations. Briggs’ report says the border-sewage problem has become a crisis in part because the region’s non-governmental organizations lack the capacity to address major regional environmental problems at a large-scale level.
“Few if any NGOs in the border region have the capacity to take a ‘big picture’ approach toward solving environmental problems,” Briggs wrote.
The foundation “may spend more time on the capacity of nonprofits to deal with the issue,” Kelly said. “They need to be stronger in terms of their ability to do research, inform the public and deal with policy.”
One last point on Bajagua. Serge Dedina, the executive director of Wildcoast, a Bajagua opponent, debated Surfrider Foundation attorney Marco Gonzalez yesterday on KPBS’s These Days. It’s worth a listen.