California AG ready to sue over Tijuana River sewage

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- Clean beaches and the stop of pollution from south of the U.S.-Mexico border into the Tijuana River Valley is the core of legal battles against the International Boundary and Water Commission.

“The fact that Edward Drusina, the head of the International Boundary and Water Commission, has resigned is a step in the right direction," Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said. "I called for him to be fired three years ago."

The announcement of the commissioner’s departure came Monday, the same day it was announced the agency was given a 60-day notice of intent to sue from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board over public health threats posed by Tijuana River sewage.

Legal action will also continue for Imperial Beach, Chula Vista and the Port of San Diego over pollution into the Tijuana River Valley and beaches.

Paloma Aguirre, who sits on the board of the IBWC's citizens forum, says they’ve been trying for the last eight to 10 years to get the agency to take action.

“We’ve had our beaches closed three years out of the last 10 and it’s always been very unresponsive," Aguirre said. "So we're looking forward to working with a new commissioner that’s able to bring new initiatives, new ideas and that actually wants to help solve this issue."

According to the IBWC, Principal Engineer Jose Nuñez will step in as acting commissioner and has been with the agency for more than 27 years. The IBWC told FOX 5 Drusina worked at the administration's pleasure and was notified Friday it was his last day. They said the departure was expected and procedural with the Trump administration coming in and had nothing to do with Drusina’s performance.

“It’s really, really important to make sure we have an advocate for the folks United States who can act to help protect our interest and more importantly clean up the Tijuana River and border pollution in general,” Dedina said.