April 28, 2022
Dear Chair Leahy, Chair DeLauro, Vice Chair Shelby, and Ranking Member Granger:
The undersigned organizations support increasing funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s implementation of the Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) to $100 million in the FY2023 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill.
The business community strongly supported the $300 million included in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement for the BWIP, and we applaud EPA and the U.S. government interagency process for selecting initial projects. This is just a down payment with projects focusing on addressing the challenges in the Tijuana River region. The North American Development Bank has indicated as much as a $120 million need all along the border, based on unfunded applications. Congress must act now to continue this important momentum.
The BWIP protects both the public health of communities and the environment. The program funds essential drinking water and wastewater projects that would otherwise be financially unfeasible for local governments. The flow of sewerage across the border is a decades-old challenge and a priority for the business community as we continue to promote building smart, modern, resilient water solutions.
Transboundary waters usage requires environmental, political, and technical alternatives to protect citizens from waterborne diseases. Transboundary water migration and lack of clean drinking water can result in significant public health and environmental challenges on both sides of the border. It is not unusual for residents, visitors, and personnel from the U.S. Border Patrol and the American military to encounter harmful and polluted waste, compromising their health and safety. This further jeopardizes our border security, regional tourism, and our communities. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times underscores how these challenges are impacting the region.
The Chamber, working with the state and local chambers listed below, include member companies that can provide technologies, products, and services to drive development, leverage private investment, and implement needed projects. We strongly urge your support for legislation and other activities that provide critical BWIP funding and technical assistance for implementing infrastructure projects that address water pollution and wastewater challenges. Concrete actions and funding are long overdue.
Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
New Mexico Chamber of Commerce
Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce
Visitor & Tourism Center
Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce
Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce
Texas Association of Business
Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
cc: Members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations
cc: Members of the House Committee on Appropriations