From the bluffs at Border Field State Park at the southern end of Imperial Beach, next to the international border, is one of the most beautiful and wild coastlines in Southern California.
This past week, the surf was pumping, the sky and the sea were deep blue, and the dunes and salt marsh of the southern end of Imperial Beach--that starts at the metal wall that sticks out into the Pacific Ocean on the U.S.-Mexico--seemed to extend forever.
It was stunning.
Moreover, it wasn't just the beauty that was stunning.
I was amazed that on a day with a giant south swell and a river like current moving south to north, the ocean, for once, didn't smell like raw sewage.
Because for the southern part of Imperial Beach, that is pretty unusual.
The most beautiful, wild, and empty part of our coastline, that includes the Tijuana Estuarine Research Reserve, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Border Field State Park, and the Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area, has been closed to pollution from Mexico, a total of three years out of the past decade!!
And that is absolutely unacceptable.
Just south of the border fence, sits the suburbs of Playas de Tijuana, San Antonio del Mar, and Baja Malibu.
They lie north and south of the San Antonio de los Buenos sewage treatment plant that effectively stopped treating wastewater years ago and now discharges up to 40 million gallons of raw sewage into the Pacific Ocean on the beach, each and every day.
That doesn't include the more than a dozen small sewage pipes that spit out wastewater onto the beach from the border fence southward to Rosarito Beach.
When the ocean currents and wind blow and move from south to north, all that toxic human waste moves northward to Imperial Beach and Coronado, polluting more than 12 miles of public beaches, two state parks, one national wildlife refuge, a marine protected area and the training beach for U.S. Navy SEALs.
That doesn't include what happens when sewage and toxic waste are discharged into the Tijuana River and a sewage plume of more than forty square miles fills the ocean with foul fetid water for months at a time.
Because of the threat of this toxic mess, our clean water team in Imperial Beach has been relentless is pushing authorities and agencies in Mexico and the U.S. to stop dumping their toxic mess on our kids, families, Border Patrol agents, U.S. Navy SEALs, and wildlife.
And for me it is personal--my kids and I have gotten sick multiple times from inadvertently surfing in raw sewage and toxic waste.
Unfortunately, the response of federal agencies and high-level government in the U.S. and Mexico has been less than impressive.
Baja California Governor Kiko De La Vega recently said the pollution that occurs daily was "infrequent."
The U.S. Justice Department stated that it had no authority or responsibility to clean up the mess along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Luckily, our leaderful region has stood steadfast in defense of our communities and coastline.
Our lawsuit against the International Boundary and Water Commission for what could be the worst Clean Water Act violations in U.S. history, has been joined by the City of Chula Vista, the Port of San Diego, the State of California (thanks to Attorney General Xavier Becerra) and the Surfrider Foundation.
Our representatives in Sacramento, including Assemblymember Todd Gloria,Senator Ben Hueso and Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, have rallied to our side with funding and key political support.
Our San Diego Congressional Delegation under the leadership of Rep. Juan Vargas, Rep. Scott Peters and Rep. Susan Davis along with California Senators Diane Feinstein and Kamala Harris, forced Congress to include funding in the U.S. EPA budget to partially clean up the Tijuana River.
That support has meant that it is no longer the tiny City of Imperial Beach that is fighting this battle alone.
But I still need your help to continue this effort.
So please donate today to make sure that we can continue this quest and effort to fight for our beaches, for our community and to make sure that every family in our region can spend a day together at our gorgeous beach 365 days a year.
Because we will never give up our quest for clean water and clean water.
Thanks for your support!!