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EPA, Mexico Continue Partnership to Improve Environment on Border

SPECIAL TO THE LEADER ———

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $450,000 to fund environmental projects along the Texas and New Mexico U.S-Mexico border. The funds also supported the first biennial national coordinators meeting recently held in El Paso, Texas. Grant funds aided projects such as air monitoring improvement, waste collection and recycling expansion, and improving environmental awareness and education among area residents.

“Working together, we take environmental challenges along the border and find solutions,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “I look forward to continuing our efforts with our counterparts from Mexico and border communities to address the remaining complex environmental issues we face along the border.”

The recent meeting—Sept. 21-23, 2015—between EPA and the Mexican Environment and Natural Resources Secretariat (SEMARNAT) gave citizens the opportunity to provide feedback and learn about accomplishments of the Border 2020 program. The first meeting on the new Border 2020 Program also provided an opportunity to showcase accomplishments and re-examine the goals, objectives and operations of the program.

“Environmental pollution has no borders and affects the 14.1 million residents living along the entire 2,000 mile U.S.-Mexico Border,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “It is important for EPA to continue working with Mexico and our federal, state, and local partners to fulfill our commitments in Border 2020 so that residents on both sides of the border are better protected.”

The Border 2020 program has already delivered visible and tangible results in communities along the U.S.-Mexico Border, including the paving of more than 500,000 square meters of roads in Mexicali to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions; the collection of more than 390,000 liters of used oil and 60,000 lbs of e-waste from Arizona/Sonora communities to reduce impacts to bi-national watersheds; the construction of a 1.5MW solar array at the Los Alisos Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sonora (the first in Latin America) that will displace about 1.76 million pounds of CO2 a year; and the installation of a PM 2.5 air monitor at the San Ysidro Port of Entry to better understand the impacts of car idling emissions on the local community.

The Border 2020 is the latest environmental program implemented under the 1983 La Paz Agreement. It builds on the Border 2012 program, emphasizing regional, bottom-up approaches for decision making, priority setting, and project implementation to address the environmental and public health problems in the border region. As in Border 2012, the new program encourages meaningful participation from communities and local stakeholders.

The Border 2020 Program also strengthens its focus in regional areas where environmental improvements are needed most: establishing thematic goals, supporting the implementation of projects, considering new fundamental strategies, and encouraging the achievement of more ambitious environmental and public health goals.

For more information on the Border 2020 Program, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/border2020/forms/contact-border-2020