IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — The California Coastal Commission met Wednesday in the city that’s been suffering from transboundary sewage contamination.
Imperial Beach’s Pier South Hotel hosted the California Commission, city leaders, state officials and the public in a packed meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the attendees included officials from the EPA, California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre and the Biden-appointed commissioner for the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission, Dr. Maria-Elena Giner.
“We agree that its unacceptable that you do not have access to your beaches,” Giner said to the crowded room during a presentation to show the work that has been done and what still needs to be done to address the issue.
“Having an entire day of agencies and stakeholders and most importantly communities voicing their concerns and comments is important to help inform our decisions and future actions as we move forward on this issue,” Imperial Beach Mayor Paloma Aguirre said.
Aguirre said this meeting was not only important to make sure stakeholders and leaders of this jurisdiction heard from each other, but said it was more important that the commission heard from the public, especially Imperial Beach residents who have been impacted by the sewage contamination for decades.
In August, Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to President Biden and called this a federal responsibility and asked for federal funding. According to Aguirre, he sent a letter to the commission before the meeting.
“The governor sent a letter last night to the commission explaining why he didn’t think that pursuing a state of emergency was the right path to success, we appreciate his partnership helping us at least elevate this to the level that it needs to be at the federal level,” she added.
Imperial Beach resident and former Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina hopes this meeting will ignite an urgent push for help.
“The sewage crisis is a national emergency people are getting sick, we have 12 miles of beaches from the U.S. Mexico border all the way to Coronado closed, people are getting sick, our NAVY Seals are getting sick, our border patrol agents are getting sick, and it’s really ruining the economics of Coronado and IB so we need the state and federal government to really wake up and take action,” Dedina said.