Binational Pipeline Funding Bill Passed In Congress, Awaits Senate
The city of Nogales, Arizona has been footing a large portion of the bill to repair the binational pipeline that connects it to its Mexican counterpart, but an amendment passed in the House may help change that.
The funding amendment was introduced by Congressman Raul Grijalva, who represents Arizona’s third district. The legislation would redirect $4 million of the International Boundary and Water Commission’s budget to the maintenance and operation of the International Outfall Interceptor, or IOI, that transports wastewater from the two countries to a treatment plant in Rio Rico.
Grijalva said that this move is imperative to the safety of the communities in the area, since the situation has reached a crisis point.
“The breakages that we had is because it's old infrastructure built in the 50s. And that presents a huge public health problem and environmental problem, a seepage problem, and in a general community danger in many respects," said Grijalva. “I worry, and I think the people and the community worry that there's going to be a major breach, major spillage that is going to cost even more money to clean up and to mitigate and to fully repair that we're talking about right now. And that's my concern.”
Grijalva said that this legislation would set a new precedent: If the federal government enters a treaty, they are responsible for taking care of it, not small local communities. He is confident the amendment will pass in the Senate.