The U.S. and Mexico today signed an agreement to reduce pollution, exposure to chemical accidents or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship. It is the latest cleanup program implemented under the 1983 U.S.-Mexico La Paz Agreement covering public health problems in the 2,000-mile border region. The border is home to more than 14 million people and one of the busiest trade regions in the world.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson joined Mexico’s Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Quesada to sign what’s dubbed Border 2020, which extends the Border 2012 program due to expire this year.
Border 2012 can list many achievements, including connecting households to drinking water and wastewater services benefiting more than 8.5 million residents. In addition, the program helped remove more than 12 million scrap tires from dumps sites, and more than 75.5 metric tons of obsolete pesticides from rural areas in California, Sonora, and Tamaulipas.
A focus on five areas is promised:
- Reducing air pollution in bi-national air sheds by promoting vehicle inspection programs and road paving, and encouraging anti-idling technologies such as diesel truck electrification at ports-of-entry.
- Improving access to clean and safe water as well as improving water quality in the bi-national watersheds.
- Promoting materials and waste management, and addressing contaminated sites as well as management practices for addressing electronics, lead acid batteries, tires, and trash.
- Enhancing joint preparedness for environmental and emergency response.
- Enhancing compliance assurance and environmental stewardship.
More information, as well as a fact sheet on Border 2020, is available at: http://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/