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U.S.-Mexico Environmental Partnership Brings Cleaner Air, Water, and Land

Release Date: 10/28/2009
Contact Information: Francisco Arcaute, Cell: (213) 798-1404, arcaute.francisco@epa.gov

U.S.-Mexico Environmental Partnership Brings Cleaner Air, Water, and Land - Sister Agencies join Oct. 27-29 at the National Coordinators Meeting - Over $10.8 Million in Funding for border projects to be announced

LOS ANGELES – Officials from the United States and Mexico will meet October 27-29 to discuss a wide array of environmental topics including the ongoing removal of millions of abandoned tires, disaster readiness and announce millions in grant funds to the border at Rincon reservation of the Rincon Band of Luiseņo Indians in Valley Center, San Diego County, Calif.

The sixth Border 2012 National Coordinators Meeting will be hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with the Mexican Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) and the participation of the 10 Border States, local governments, representatives from U.S. tribes and Mexico indigenous communities, and a broad array of non-governmental organizations.


This is the first annual meeting to be held on an Indian reservation. "The Rincon Band is very honored to be a party to this important meeting. Sustainability and environmental health are critical issues to tribal governments and we fully recognize that solutions require region-wide efforts and cooperation," stated Bo Mazzetti, Chairman of the Rincon Band.

"We need to pay attention to mutual issues of air and water contamination, drought, disease, terrorism, natural disasters, and resource depletion. These environmental problems do not recognize arbitrary national border jurisdictions, and neither should we," he added.

The U.S., Mexico and tribal nations are proud of this year’s Border 2012 achievements, which include:
· Providing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure through 74 certified projects benefiting more than seven million of the 12 million people that call the border region home;
· Cleaning up of more than 2,500 tons of hazardous waste from the abandoned “Metales and Derivados” lead recovery facility in Tijuana;
· The signing of 15 “Sister City” agreements on Emergency Preparedness and Response;
· 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;
· Removal of over 4 million scrap tires in the Mexican communities of Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Reynosa, Piedras Negras, San Luis Rio Colorado, Palomas and Ascension, reducing the threat of fires and diseases such as dengue, West Nile Virus, and malaria;
· Improved 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.

“The work accomplished in the Border Region would not be possible without collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico, but perhaps more importantly among Task Forces, the 26 Border Tribes, the 10 U.S. Border States, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, North American Development Bank, and many others,” said Michelle DePass, Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of International Affairs. “Their advocacy, stewardship and their commitment to the goals of Border 2012 are essential to the success of the program.”

“As partners, the U.S. and Mexico continue to face tough environmental issues along the ever-growing border area,” said Laura Yoshii, Acting Regional Administrator for the EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. “Our joint efforts have led to significant progress in improving the environment and quality of life for the U.S., Mexican, and Tribal communities of the region, and we look forward to even greater successes in the future.”


"As we have set out to do in past years, all partners will identify key actions to complete work in progress, and be committed to more aggressive targets to guide our bi-national efforts on air, water, waste, environmental health, emergency preparedness and environmental stewardship. Furthermore, in setting the stage for the next bi-national border program, all stakeholders are urged to contribute additional priorities to the new program, such as climate change and natural resources protection," said Enrique Lendo, Head of the International Affairs Office of SEMARNAT.


The 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.

On Thursday, October 29, 11:30 am, a press availability will take place in the Merlot Room at Harrah's Rincon Resort and Casino.

For more information, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/

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