Gov. Gavin Newsom this month vetoed a bill that would have sent $100 million to the state water resources, half of which would have gone toward cleaning up the pollution-blighted Tijuana River. Days later, another pipe broke in Mexico and sent a total of 145 million gallons of untreated water across the border via the river, triggering more beach closures in South Bay.
Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina is pissed.
“It was a very clear ‘eff you’ from the governor to all of us,” Dedina said of the veto. “Our lifeguards are completely demoralized and feel like they’ve been abandoned by the state of California.”
In his letter explaining the veto, Newsom said California is facing lower-than-expected revenues to start the fiscal year and the state already gave $35 million to address the Tijuana and New River from in the last two years that hasn’t been spent.
David Gibson, executive officer of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, confirmed half of that $35 million would go toward the Tijuana River watershed projects, but he said some of those projects need more money than the state budget allocations can cover.
The U.S. federal government and Mexico are together putting in over $470 million to double an international wastewater treatment plant’s capabilities of handling more sewage flows instead of pollution making its way into the river itself. But that money is already dedicated to a list of other projects determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.