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U.S. EPA, DoD Northern Command Providing Hazardous Material Response Equipment to Border Towns

Release Date: 11/07/2012
Contact Information: Rusty Harris-Bishop, harris-bishop.rusty@epa.gov (415) 972-3140

Final phase of program providing equipment, training to Nogales and Agua Prieta


(11/07/2012) SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Defense U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are providing emergency response equipment to local fire departments in the Mexican border cities of Nogales, Sonora and Agua Prieta, Sonora to further build capacity to respond to hazardous material incidents along the border.

The equipment was transferred at a ceremony in Nogales, Sonora on November 7, 2012. The mayor of the city, representatives of the U.S. and Mexico Consulates, Mexico’s Federal Environmental Enforcement Agency (PROFEPA), Mexico federal and state police, and the recipient fire departments were in attendance. A showcase of the equipment followed the ceremony.

“This hazmat gear is essential for our sister cities across the border,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator. “These tools will better enable us to jointly respond to a future environmental emergency along the Arizona/Sonora border.”

“The U.S. Consulate General in Nogales is very pleased to coordinate with NORTHCOM and facilitate this transfer of needed hazmat equipment,” said Deputy Principal Officer Megan Phanuef. “This is just one of many ways that our federal, state, and local governments work together to improve the quality of life for communities on both sides of the border.”

The equipment provided to the Agua Prieta and Nogales Fire Departments include protective suits, self-contained breathing masks, chemical testing kits, and tools necessary to respond to hazardous material spills. Previous recipients of equipment and training in the California/Baja California and Arizona/Sonora border include the Mexican cities of Tijuana, Calexico, and San Luis Rio Colorado.

Enhancing the ability of cities on both sides of the border to respond to hazardous material incidents is a high priority under the binational border environment program (referred to as Border 2012) and was implemented under a 2008 EPA/NORTHCOM Memorandum of Agreement. The new binational border environment program, Border 2020, builds on these efforts by emphasizing regional and locally-driven approaches for decision making, priority setting, and project implementation to address the environmental and public health problems in the border region.

For more information on this program please visit: http://www.epa.gov/border2020/index.html

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