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Introducing the Southern California Groundwater Remediation Act

Location: Washington, DC



* Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, today, I will be reintroducing the Southern California Groundwater Remediation Act. This legislation is a long-term solution to help cities in Southern California remove perchlorate from their drinking water.

* Formerly H.R. 4606, this legislation passed the House of Representatives in September of 2004. Today, I pick up the fight to clean up perchlorate groundwater contamination and protect the health of Southern Californians. Perchlorate groundwater contamination remains a crisis in Southern California. This includes my hometown of Rialto, California.

* Perchlorate is a main ingredient in rocket fuel. It has been found in drinking water supplies in 40 states, including California. It has been linked to thyroid damage, and may be especially harmful to infants and developing fetuses, and the 1.2 million women of childbearing age in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties. It could also be harmful to those with weak immune systems, such as seniors and AIDS patients.

* There is a legal and moral obligation to provide safe and healthy water. Today, these obligations are in jeopardy. The hardworking families in these areas are not at fault and should not have to pay for this problem. We must protect these consumers.

* Southern California, and particularly the Inland Empire, has been greatly impacted by perchlorate. Perchlorate has been detected in 184 sources in the counties served by the Santa Ana River watershed. There is a perchlorate plume in the Inland Empire in California that is seven miles long and growing every day. It has affected 82 wells in San Bernardino County, and jeopardized the water supplies of 500,000 residents who rely on the Colorado River.

* The economic burden on these communities is almost as much of a concern as the potential health effects. The bill authorizes $50 million in much-needed assistance. It is modeled after a successful program in the San Gabriel Basin in Southern California that has also suffered from perchlorate-polluted water. And it is similar to H.R. 4459, a bill introduced by Richard Pombo in the 108th Congress that deals with perchlorate in Northern California, and passed the House last September.

* I urge my colleagues to support this urgent bill for Southern California, so we can tell these communities that help is on the way. I would like to thank Congresswoman GRACE NAPOLITANO, Congressman KEN CALVERT and Congressman GARY MILLER for their support of this crucial bill to the health of Southern Californians.


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