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U.S. EPA gives $284,625 for environmental projects along Arizona's U.S.-Mexico border

Release Date: 12/3/2004
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

Funds help children's health, homeland security, household hazardous waste collection

SAN FRANCISCO As part of the binational Border 2012 program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded $284,625 in grants to fund nine environmental projects along Arizona's U.S.-Mexico border.

Projects include a pilot program aimed at collecting household hazardous waste from maquiladoras employees, improving a potable water system on the Tohono O'odham Nation, and reducing children's exposure to environmental contaminants-- particularly lead and pesticides -- and environmental asthma triggers.

"The environmental challenges faced by residents in the U.S. and Mexico region require the cooperation of both our countries," said Laura Yoshii, the EPA's deputy regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. "By funding projects such as these, we are ensuring that families and children on both sides of the border share the benefits of clean air and clean water."

U.S. - Mexico Border The U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program is a 10-year binational cooperative plan aimed at protecting public health and the environment along the 2,000-mile border region with approximately 12 million residents. The program focuses on decreasing air, water, waste and soil pollution, and lowering the risks of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

The grants are as follows:

The Tohono O'odham Nation received $90,000 to make improvements to the potable water system. The funds will help upgrade an existing well, refurbish storage and distribution facilities, and increase the school's water storage facilities by adding a 3,000-gallon storage tank. An existing storage tank will be cleaned, repaired and repainted. A new well with a cement pad and appropriate sanitary seal would be drilled near the current school well site and equipped with a new pump to be powered by a combination solar and wind system currently used by the school.

To help stop current illegal oil dumping practices, Arizona State University received $24,250 to establish a pilot program to stop the illegal dumping of used oil, to establish a long-term agreement between Nogales, Sonora used-oil generators and an Arizona used-oil recycler, and to educate the industry in Nogales, Sonora about the harm to the environment and public health caused by the dumping of used oil.

Santa Cruz County Public Safety Association received $40,000 to develop a pilot household hazardous waste collection program to train employees of maquiladoras in Nogales, Sonora on the safe handling of the waste. The association will also hold at least two collection events and provide assistance to sustain the program.

To reduce dust in the air by stabilizing the soil, the University of Arizona received $50,000 to work with the community, maquiladoras and other businesses to assess current vegetation areas and parks to protect or develop new green areas.

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality received $33,000 to develop and implement a public education and outreach project in the Arizona/Sonora border region aimed at reducing children's exposures to environmental contaminants, particularly lead and pesticides, and environmental asthma triggers. The Arizona/Sonora Children's Environmental Health Task Force will work with community agencies and schools in both the U.S. and Mexico to raise awareness of children's environmental health issues and develop practical ways to protect children and pregnant women from environmental risk exposures.

The Environmental Education Exchange received $20,000 for the Cross Border Collaborators Project that will provide support to 12 institutions actively involved in educational outreach efforts along the Arizona-Sonora border. The CBC Project will convene quarterly meetings, provide monthly Border 2012 updates, provide assistance and coordination of trainings in Sonora, and overall re-invigorate the Web-based communication tool originally developed for the group in 1999.

The Nogales Fire Department received $20,000 to expand the scope of their existing Bi-National Prevention and Emergency Response plan to include all emergencies. The expanded bilingual plan will serve as a model for other border communities.

Arizona Governor's Office of Homeland Security received a $5,000 grant to host a binational training workshop on OREIS, a free software tool used to assist hazardous materials responders by providing real-time information about the chemical contents of railcars and motor carriers in the U.S.-Mexico border region.The software also provides information on passenger railroads as well as other life and timesaving features for emergency responders to include chemical databases and toxicological information.

The Cochise County Hazardous Materials Response Team received $2,375 to send one individual to the Transportation Technology Center, Inc., Emergency Response Training Center in Pueblo, Colo. to increase the safety of emergency responders and the civilians living in Cochise County and neighboring Mexico. The individual attending the course will provide training to all members of the team as well as neighboring agencies.

For information on the Border 2012 Program, go to: http://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder