Reps. Chu, Napolitano & Sanchez fight for San Gabriel basin restoration funds

Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27) was joined by Representatives Grace Napolitano (CA- 32) and Linda Sanchez (CA- 38) to introduce legislation Tuesday ensuring federal funding for groundwater cleanup efforts in the San Gabriel River Basin. The bill allows San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority to access the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund for an additional 5 years on top of the 10 years under current law.
“There is no reason for the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority to lose access to this fund, simply because they didn’t spend money fast enough,” said Congresswoman Chu. “This bill does not spend a single dime – it ensures that the funds that were already allocated to this cause continue to be available in the years to come. We cannot allow the health and safety of our residents and the integrity of our drinking water to be sacrificed to meet an arbitrary deadline. Time is of the essence now, as the ten year time limit is fast approaching.”
“The San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund protects nearly 3 million people who get their drinking water from the San Gabriel and Central Basins,” continued Rep. Napolitano. “We must continue to invest in the cleanup of the region and fight the spread of groundwater contamination which threatens the health and safety of our communities. I applaud Congresswoman Chu for her leadership on this bill and her efforts to sustain this critical program, and I look forward to continuing to work together to enact it into law.”
“It’s critical that we provide clean drinking water and environmental protections for our families today and for future generations,” said Rep. Sanchez. “Ensuring that the San Gabriel Basin Water Quality Authority has access to the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund is essential to achieving this goal. With more than 2 million new residents expected in the region by 2020, we can’t afford to stop cleaning up contaminated groundwater in the San Gabriel Valley. The health of our residents demands that we fully fund this groundwater cleanup.”
Officials estimate that the total cost of cleaning up contaminated groundwater in the San Gabriel Valley will top $1.2 billion, with $901 million of that going towards operation and maintenance. The pollution is the result of seepage of rocket fuel and other chemicals leftover after decades of aerospace production in the region. To date, 39 tons of contaminants have been removed, and nearly 847,000 acre feet of groundwater have been treated. The restoration fund has also created 2,700 highly skilled jobs for local residents.

May 2, 2013

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