EPA Reports Environmental Progress along the Mexican Border

Date: May 11, 2007

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Environmental Progress Along the Mexican Border Highlighted in Two New Reports

Attacking Waste, Contamination Problems in Tijuana, Other Border Cities

Contact: Dave Ryan, (202) 564-4355 / ryan.dave@epa.gov.

Two new reports highlight important health and environmental progress in the border region under the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Environmental Program.

"These reports show significant environmental progress despite substantial growth in the border's economy and population," said Jerry Clifford, EPA deputy assistant administrator for the Office of International Affairs and Border 2012 U.S. National Coordinator. "They also confirm that international collaboration improves the environment, human health, and the quality of life while making economic and environmental sense."

The two reports, U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program: Border 2012 Implementation and Mid-Term Report 2007 and State of the Border Region: Indicators Report 2005, were released today by EPA and its Mexican counterpart, the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources.

An example of environmental progress is the disposal of used tires. Over the past decade, explosive population growth and a steady demand for used American tires in Mexico has resulted in the accumulation of more than nine million discarded tires along the U.S.–Mexico border. Border cities such as Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and Mexicali have piles containing hundreds of thousands of tires, posing a significant air, water, and land contamination threat. But through the efforts of the EPA's Border 2012 Program, more than three million tires have already been removed from the border region and used for fuel or in highway paving projects.

Other environmental accomplishments cited include:

· More than 2000 tons of hazardous waste was cleaned up from the abandoned "Metales and Derivados" lead recovery facility in Tijuana. The site clean-up removed the risk of lead contamination for 10,000 people.

· EPA's Border Environment Infrastructure Fund, combined with funding from Mexico, provided $1.5 billion for 54 projects that provided drinking water and wastewater benefits to over 6.7 million people.

· Fourteen out of 15 U.S. and Mexico Sister Cities on the border (paired cities on either side of the border) have established Sister City Binational Emergency Response Plans. The plans provide local emergency response teams with a mechanism for cooperatively addressing emergency response planning, exercises and training.

State of the Border Region 2005 is the first in a series of bi-national reports under the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Environmental Program. It informs the border communities and stakeholders about the state of the environment and progress made under the Border 2012:U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program, which was launched in 2002.

The U.S. - Mexico Border 2012 Program is a 10-year, binational program focused on making measurable improvements in environmental quality and health along the U.S.-Mexico border. It represents a partnership of cooperation among the federal governments of Mexico and the United States, the ten border-states, 26 American Indian tribes in the border region, local authorities, and academia and business interests.

Read the reports: www.epa.gov/border2012/.

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