Today, Congresswomen Judy Chu (CA-32) and Grace Napolitano (CA-38) announced an improved outlook for continued federal funding for the San Gabriel Valley Restoration Fund, thanks to Senator Feinstein's including it in the FY2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The restoration fund, set up in 1999 to address chemical contamination resulting from defense contractors dumping substances like rocket fuel, was initially intended to last 10 years. However, the extent of the contamination in the San Gabriel Valley was underestimated, and while federal money was provided for up to ten years, that timeframe became unrealistic as the scope of the problem became larger over time. With today's developments, federal funding will continue to be available to the project for another five years. Following their announcement, Reps Chu and Napolitano released the following statements:
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-38): "The San Gabriel Valley Restoration Fund is all that prevents a dangerous plume of contamination from spreading into our aquifers and tainting our groundwater. I strongly support Rep. Judy Chu's efforts to sustain this critical program, and I welcome the actions Senator Feinstein has taken to help keep the San Gabriel Valley Restoration Fund alive. Today we have overcome one hurdle, now we must continue to work together to ensure that this bill is signed into law."
Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-32): "I want to thank Senator Feinstein for her steadfast commitment to ensuring a safe and reliable water supply for the residents of the San Gabriel Valley. I introduced legislation to extend the time period that federal money would be available for the San Gabriel Valley Restoration Fund, and had the privilege of working with Senator Feinstein to make sure this happened in the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill as well. Our local water agencies need the flexibility and time to operate and maintain cleanup projects that prevent the further spreading of contamination. I applaud Congresswoman Napolitano's long history on this issue, and I am proud to continue that fight until every last drop of contamination is removed from our community."
Background: Congresswoman Napolitano was one of the first voices to call for funding to restore the San Gabriel Valley to its pristine natural state. Her efforts led to the formation of the San Gabriel Valley Restoration Fund. Congresswoman Chu continued these efforts by fighting to provide an additional 5 years to operate and maintain any project constructed under the San Gabriel Basin Restoration Fund.