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First Gov  

September 12, 2000

H.R. 3378 - Tijuana River Valley Estuary and Beach Sewage Cleanup Act
(Bilbray (R) CA and Filner (D) CA)

The Administration supports the intent of H.R. 3378, which attempts to address the long-term sewage treatment needs of the U.S.-Mexico border region. The Administration, however, opposes H.R. 3378, because its approach raises serious foreign policy and legal concerns and will hinder our ongoing efforts to address the region's wastewater treatment needs.

The approach taken by H.R. 3378 will hamper the Administration's efforts to implement its existing U.S. legal obligations with Mexico, which Mexico has repeatedly urged the United States to fulfill. Instead of authorizing the funding needed to fulfill these obligations, the bill attempts to legislate the terms of a new agreement. In addition, the bill provides for a 30-year contract that may be unenforceable in Mexico.

The Administration is prepared to work with Congress to produce an environmentally appropriate and cost-effective alternative that would be consistent with our current legal obligations and acceptable to the Mexican Government. The Administration supports adequate funding to fulfill our existing commitments and the development of a comprehensive regional plan to address long-term sewage treatment needs.