(Dallas, Texas – September 2, 2008) Officials from the United States and Mexico will meet to discuss environmental issues along the border, recognize environmental accomplishments to date, and commemorate the 25th anniversary of the La Paz Agreement on Sept. 3-5 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The fifth Border 2012 National Coordinators Meeting will be hosted by Mexico’s Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and participation of the 10 border states, county and local governments, representatives from U.S. tribes and Mexico indigenous communities, and a broad array of non-governmental organizations.
“As neighbors and partners, we continue to work together to create solutions for the environmental issues of our shared border,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Our efforts have led to significant progress in improving the environment and quality of life for the people of the region, and we look forward to even greater successes in the future.”
Border 2012 supports projects that reduce air pollution, provide safe drinking water, and improve emergency preparedness, among others. The program is the current embodiment of the environmental partnership that began between the United States and Mexico in 1983 with the signing of the La Paz Agreement.
Under La Paz, the United States and Mexico agreed to protect, conserve and improve the environment of the border region. The agreement created a framework for the two governments to resolve environmental issues along the border and led to the creation of the Border XXI initiative. Border XXI was the predecessor of the Border 2012 program.
Since its start in 2003, the Border 2012 program has worked with its partners on a broad range of pollution prevention efforts in the region. Recent program successes include:
* removal of more than four million used tires from the border region for use as fuel or in highway paving projects;
* providing drinking water and wastewater benefits through 74 certified projects that will benefit more than seven million of the 12 million people that call the border region home;
* clean up of more than 2,500 tons of hazardous waste from the abandoned “Metales and Derivados” lead recovery facility in Tijuana; and
* the signing of 14 Pair City memorandums of understanding for emergency response.
To strengthen collaborative relationships along the border even further, SEMARNAT Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada will join EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson in signing the revised U.S.-Mexico Joint Contingency Plan during the meeting. EPA has formed several strategic partnerships over the past two years to strengthen emergency preparedness in the region. These partnerships include tribal nations, the Border Governors Emergency Management Worktable, and the U.S. Northern Command. With these partnerships, EPA is achieving the key Border 2012 objective of providing certified, standardized capacity building to border first responders.