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Whitman Announces U.S.-Mexico Border Air Quality Strategy

Release Date: 11/26/2002
Contact Information:


Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818/hester.luke@epa.gov



(11/26/02) At the annual Binational Commission conference in Mexico City, EPA Administrator Christie Whitman today unveiled a new Air Quality Strategy developed by the United States and Mexico to take enhanced cooperative action to address transboundary air pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The agreement will serve as a foundation for dramatically improving the public health and air quality on both sides of our border and also for contributing to our economies in the region,” said Whitman.

The Strategy is designed to help federal and local officials improve border air quality by working together to protect public health while promoting economic growth. The Strategy will help improve exchange of information, and encourage coordinated planning, management and innovation.

Increases in population and industrial growth have affected urban and regional air quality along the U.S.-Mexico border. While substantial efforts have been made to protect border air quality, the two governments will strive to further address remaining significant environmental challenges on the border.

The Governments of Mexico and the United States
        • continuing our emphasis on sustainable development through partnerships, and the further integration of the North American energy market
        • realizing the importance of coordinated border airshed management
        • understanding that the transboundary movement of air pollution causes degradation of air quality in border areas and can cause significant harm to human health and to natural resources of environmental, cultural, and economic importance
        • recalling our respective existing bilateral environmental agreements and traditions of environmental cooperation, including the substantial efforts our countries have made to reduce transboundary air pollution
        • seeking to ensure a reduction in air pollution for the benefit of our citizens living in areas along their respective borders
        • believing that transboundary air pollution in border areas can be further reduced through enhanced cooperative actions
        • are therefore requesting our officials to develop appropriate pilot transboundary projects, after consultation with their appropriate state, provincial and local officials, and to report back to us on those proposed projects within four months.

To implement the Strategy, U.S. government agencies, led by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will work with the Mexican government to identify appropriate pilot projects in consultation with relevant stakeholders such as states, local governments, the business community and the private sector. A report on potential projects will be made by April 1, 2003. These projects will serve as a foundation for developing new strategies to improve air quality along the border.