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U.S.-Mexico Environmental Partnership Bringing Cleaner Water and Air To Border Communities

Release Date: 09/05/2008
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – September 5, 2008) At a ceremony concluding this year’s Border 2012 National Coordinators meeting held in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the U.S. and Mexico pledged to continue removing millions of abandoned tires, provide additional water and sanitation, promote biodiesel, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel trucks operating along the border.

“Our border program aims to protect the environment and public health in two countries through partnership of federal, state and local government and the U.S. border tribes,” EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Green said. “Today over 4 million people have benefited from improved sanitation and access to clean drinking water.”

At this year’s Border 2012 National Coordinator’s Meeting, environmental successes include:

* Water and sanitation - the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund has brought improved sanitation and drinking water to more than 4 million people;
* Tribal programs - through the U.S. Tribal Border infrastructure program, over 8,100 homes have been provided with safe drinking water, or basic sanitation. Also, a new sanitary facility was completed in the indigenous communities of San Jose de la Zorra and San Antonio Necua;
* Scrap tire removal - the Mexican communities of Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Reynosa, Piedras Negras, San Luis Rio Colorado, Palomas and Ascension removed scrap tire piles, reducing the threat of fires and diseases such as dengue, West Nile virus, and malaria;
* Air quality - Transporte Limpio, modeled after EPA’s SmartWay, will increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from diesel trucks operating along the border.

“As partners, the U.S. and Mexico are working together to tackle tough environmental issues in the border area,” said Laura Yoshii, Deputy Regional Administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. “Our joint efforts along the border have lead to significant environmental accomplishments benefiting U.S., Mexican, and Tribal communities.”

“As we set out to do last year, we took stock of our accomplishments, identified key actions to complete our work, and committed to more aggressive targets in cases where we have achieved our original goals,” said Armando Yañez, National Coordinator for SEMARNAT.

A Joint Contingency Plan was signed last night, concluding this year’s Border 2012 National Coordinators meeting, which was hosted by Mexico’s Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT) in collaboration with the EPA and participation of border states, county and local governments, representatives from U.S. tribes and Mexico indigenous communities, and a broad array of non-governmental organizations.

The U.S. EPA’s Border 2012 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program protects the environment and public health for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. The Border 2012 program seeks to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship.

For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/border_success.htm

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