WASHINGTON, D.C. â€” Congressman Juan Vargas (CA-51) and Congressman Duncan Hunter (CA-50) introduced the California New River Restoration Act of 2017 (H.R. 438). This bipartisan bill improves restoration and conservation efforts in the New River in both California and Mexico through the creation of a California New River restoration program.
â€œEfforts to restore the New River have shown great progress, but there is still work to be done,â€ said Rep. Vargas. â€œThis bill will help advance that progress by providing necessary federal support to conservation efforts that aid in restoring the New River.â€
The New River is a binational waterway historically recognized for its high concentration of pollution. It flows north into the United States through Calexico, passes through the Imperial Valley and drains to the Salton Sea. The existing and ongoing voluntary conservation efforts at the New River necessitate improved efficiency and cost effectiveness. This includes increased private-sector investments and coordination of Federal and non-Federal resources. The California New River Restoration program creates the venues for further progress in those respective areas.
â€œThis bill is an important step in restoring the New River, as well as the Salton Seaâ€, said Hunter. â€œBuilding on existing efforts and leveraging proven programs will be key for future success.â€
H.R. 438 provides the authority to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator to support projects recommended by the California-Mexico Border Relations Council. Additionally, the California New River Restoration Act of 2017 ensures that the EPA will consult with all New River stakeholders on both sides of the border during the creation and implementation of the programs.
Vargas represents Californiaâ€™s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County and Californiaâ€™s entire U.S./Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his third term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.