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2002 News Releases


First New Mexico Bi-national Sister City Plan Signed in Columbus

Release Date: 11/21/2002
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

      Today, the mayors of Columbus, New Mexico and Las Palomas, Chihuahua, signed an agreement to work together in responding to emergencies that may affect both cities. The signing formalizes the sixth such agreement between sister cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the first in the state of New Mexico.

      Emergencies such as large fires or dangerous chemical spills may require cooperation between cities on each side of the border to protect human health and the environment.  Responders need to have a plan in place for how they will work with their cross-border counterparts.  Communications, delegations and procedures are important parts of a plan.  

      EPA works with communities in border areas to help them understand federal requirements for emergency planning.  EPA also helps bring other stakeholders into the planning process, to ensure state and local statutes are considered.

      About 11.8 million people live along the border, 90 percent of them in 14 paired sister cities. The border population is expected to grow to 18.4 million by 2020.

      More information about EPA's border program is available on the Internet at