Yesterday evening, the House of Representatives unanimously approved an amendment offered by Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto), to H.R. 4310 -- the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2013. Rep. Baca's amendment calls for a government based study of perchlorate contamination in the Inland Empire. The amendment specifically orders the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to conduct a study of the Rialto-Colton water basin focused on the perchlorate contaminated plume in Rialto.
"I thank my colleagues in the House of Representatives for moving forward this critical amendment that safeguards the health and well being of families across the Inland Empire," said Rep. Baca. "Every American deserves access to clean, safe drinking water. By calling for a much-needed USGS study of the Rialto-Colton water basin, this responsible amendment will help to find the best possible solutions to cleaning up the perchlorate contamination in our area."
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 has been found to be 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 managers, planners, and other customers.
In November of 2011, the House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Baca (H.R. 200) that includes similar language to today's amendment calling for a USGS study of the Rialto-Colton basin. In addition to sponsoring H.R. 200, Rep. Baca has reached out to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in an effort to move forward with an administrative study of contamination in the Rialto-Colton basin.
"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," concluded Rep. Baca. "By providing concrete research from the USGS on the Rialto-Colton water basin, my amendment moves us one step closer to finding a realistic solution to our area's perchlorate problem."