March 23, 2022
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is continuing to advance the implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Tijuana River Watershed Project. As you may recall, EPA announced in November that a suite of projects, referred to as the Comprehensive Infrastructure Solution, would move forward to the environmental analysis phase to fulfill National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.
The EPA technical team is currently working on implementing two core processes in parallel – NEPA and binational meetings with Mexico – as follows:
- To expedite the NEPA process, EPA is pursuing a Programmatic EIS (PEIS) to move projects requiring less complex environmental analysis, such as the expansion of the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant, to the design and construction stages, potentially in early 2023. A major milestone for the NEPA work is anticipated this summer when we expect to issue a draft PEIS for public comment and hold a public comment meeting. We invite you to provide a comment on the draft PEIS and will announce the public comment period via this listserv, in addition to other outlets.
- EPA is holding productive meetings with Mexico to implement a comprehensive solution to transboundary flows that includes agreement on projects and cost-sharing for construction and operations and maintenance. These meetings are held biweekly and will lead to agreements that are memorialized in writing. We are working closely with Mexico to advance the negotiations as quickly as possible and are hopeful that a binational announcement will be forthcoming later this summer.