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Days ago, Governor Gavin Newsom left the state in order to participate in the Climate Week NYC, where the Democrat spoke about how his administration is protecting the environment and our kids’ future by addressing weather, drought, floods, fires, etcetera. Gov. Newsom even talked about the $54 billion climate change commitment and the signing of 40-plus bills related to those issues. In New York, the governor said his administration has acted like no other jurisdiction in the world in these regards. During the event, Newsom even discussed clean energy goals with a Scotland official.

Before the governor’s departure, Democrat Assemblyman Eduardo García took part in Newsom’s event Friday of the enactment of historic, world-leading $54 billion climate change bills. Those proposals are expected to create millions of jobs while accelerating California’s clean energy transition, improving environmental conditions and public health, and protecting vulnerable communities against the climate crisis.

However, the Governor’s Office decided the New River is not part of such issues.

On Sunday, the former San Francisco Mayor announced the veto of AB 2248, Garcia’s bill that would have appropriated $100 million that would have been split between the New River and the Tijuana River.

The proposed bill would have made the State of California, through the California-Mexico Border Relations Council, led by the Secretary for Environmental Protection, spend the millionaire funds to improve the conditions of the most polluted watercourse in North America.

The Council is required by law to develop strategic plans to direct a project to study, monitor, remediate and improve the water quality of the New River. Although it is true that the state has already delivered several million to rehabilitate the river, the truth is that much remains to be done to improve its conditions. AB 2248 funds would have been assigned to projects in the United States, Mexico, Baja California, Tijuana or Mexicali, with accountability and surveillance mechanisms.

“The Legislature sent measures with potential costs of well over $20 billion in one-time spending commitments and more than $10 billion in ongoing commitments not accounted for in the state budget,” Gov. Newsom wrote in his veto message. “My Administration remains committed to addressing water quality and environmental equity issues at cross-border rivers, which is why I have supported funding this work.”

According to the governor, with the state facing lower-than-expected revenues over the first few months of this fiscal year, it is important to remain disciplined. So, additional funding should be considered as part of the annual budget process, he added.

“Bills with significant fiscal impact, such as this measure, should be considered and accounted for as part of the annual budget process,” the Governor detailed. “For these reasons, I cannot sign this bill.”

Back in May, when the bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Assembly, García said the improvements proposed are a matter of public health and environmental justice urgency for our shared border communities.

“For too long, residents living alongside our borders have faced disproportionate consequences of cross-border pollution, and we have been fighting for the resources needed to rectify these disparities,” Assemblymember Garcia said back then, when he called community members to help advocate in support of AB 2248, along with the matching budget request. “It will take all hands on deck to deliver these critical New River water quality improvement funds.”

Apparently, such disparities are not part of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate of California.

Adelante Valle Editor Arturo Bojorquez can be reached at abojorquez@ivpressonline.com or (760) 335-4646

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