SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - The Coronado City Council voted to help its neighbor Imperial Beach in its legal fight over massive sewage spills from Mexico.
Coronado won't be joining Imperial Beach in its federal lawsuit against the International Water and Boundary Commission, but it will assist its coastal neighbor with legal fees and lobbying with the federal government.
"What they have done is draft a blueprint for other municipalities to use if they want to help Imperial Beach without actually joining the lawsuit as a plaintiff," Coronado resident Daron Case said.
City staffers said that sewage contamination has forced the closure of city and state beaches of 37 separate times this year.
Councilmembers didn't publicly explain why they opted out of a lawsuit but still are supporting their neighbor. City council sessions have been closed for the past month.
Since the 250 million-gallon sewage spill in February, Coronado surfer Daron Case says he's suffered ear infections. Dozens of border patrol agents have filed claims citing hazardous work conditions, and Coronado and Imperial Beach coastlines have been closed for several days at a time this year.
"It's not right that my child, who didn't choose to have a heart condition, cannot use the most beautiful and serene gifts: the ocean," South Bay mother Ginger Sacco said. "This is a huge issue for all of us in the county."
The move by the city council also supports local congressmen Juan Vargas (D) and Darrell Issa's (R) federal bipartisan bill introduced on Monday aimed to rehabilitate the Tijuana River Valley with funding, coordination and infrastructure.
Although Coronado isn't following suit with IB, the city has its support. IB also has residents like Sacco who are pressuring the feds to act now to stop Mexico's sewage contamination.
"We've seen more movement in the last six months than we have the last six, seven decades," Sacco said.
News 8's Abbie Alford reached out to the mayor of IB about Coronado's decision. He said the city is moving forward with litigation and is lobbying other cities in the county to join.
To read the Coronado city staff explanation for opting out of litigation click here and click "view" on the "9/19/2017 Complete Agenda".
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