U.S. EPA officials, federal and local partners charted path forward on transboundary sewage challenge at stakeholder meeting
SAN DIEGO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a virtual meeting with key stakeholders to discuss implementation of the transboundary wastewater-related mandate contained in the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Free Trade Agreement. Those in attendance included representatives from: The International Boundary and Water Commission, North American Development Bank, Border Patrol, Navy, U.S. State Department, and state of California, as well as San Diego County, the Mayors of Coronado, San Diego, Chula Vista and Imperial Beach and Members of Congress, among others.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Assistant Administrator for International and Tribal Affairs Chad McIntosh, Assistant Administrator for Water Dave Ross, and Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest John Busterud highlighted the agency’s long-term engagement with local and federal stakeholders in pursuing comprehensive solutions to the ongoing transboundary pollution problems. The USCMA legislation included an appropriation of $300 million for infrastructure projects in connection with wastewater facilities in the area of the United States-Mexico Border. EPA’s officials presented the Agency’s strategy, criteria and timeline for deciding on how to expend USMCA funds on such projects.
To implement the provisions of the USMCA, EPA will convene an Interagency Consultation Group comprised of senior-level members from key U.S. federal, state, and local agencies, as listed in the USMCA legislation. EPA will also manage a binational technical expert consultation process to ensure infrastructure options are informed by the best available technical and scientific information.
In 2019, the USMCA Free Trade Agreement was finalized to update and replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. With entry into force on July 1, 2020, and with combined trilateral trade flows of over $1.2 trillion, the USMCA creates the largest free trade area in the world outside of the European Union. The USMCA implementing legislation Section 821 directs EPA to address polluted transboundary flows in the Tijuana River Watershed.
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