oday Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) spoke at a hearing of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power, held to examine his legislation H.R. 200, the Inland Empire Perchlorate Ground Water Plume Assessment Act. The legislation directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of water resources and perchlorate contamination in the Inland Empire, specifically ordering the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a study of the Rialto-Colton water basin focused on the perchlorate contaminated plume in Rialto.
"Many families in the Inland Empire, and throughout Southern California are concerned about the quality and safety of the water they drink," said Rep. Baca. "My legislation calls for a much-needed USGS study of the Rialto-Colton water basin in order to find the extent of contamination, and the best solutions to cleaning up the perchlorate problem in our area. I thank the Subcommittee for holding this hearing, and recognize Chairman McClintock and Ranking Member Napolitano for their commitment to clean, safe drinking water for all Americans."
Perchlorate, a rocket fuel additive, has been found to be present at trace levels in some Inland communities. Perchlorate is a volatile organic compound that is harmful to humans as it interferes with thyroid functions. As the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems. The diversity of their scientific expertise enables them to carry out large-scale, multi-disciplinary investigations and provide impartial scientific information to resource mangers, planners, and other customers.
Rialto Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott testified at the hearing in support of H.R. 200.
"I thank Rialto Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott for his excellent testimony today and for his continued work, along with City Councilman Joe Baca Jr. and the other members of the Rialto City Perchlorate Taskforce, in addressing this important public health issue," continued Rep. Baca. "If left alone, the perchlorate contaminated plume in Rialto could continue to travel underground -- contaminating more wells and compromising the health of more Southern California communities."
"By providing concrete research from the USGS on the Rialto-Colton water basin and perchlorate contamination, my bill can move us one step closer to finding a realistic solution to this problem," concluded Rep. Baca. "Local residents have already shouldered far too much of the costs associated with perchlorate cleanup. We must ensure our communities, neighborhoods, and families have the knowledge and the tools necessary to protect themselves from this harmful contamination."
Similar legislation introduced by Rep. Baca last Congress, H.R. 4252, was unanimously approved by the House of Representatives, and reported out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The bill did not come to the floor of the Senate before the 111th Congress came to an end.