The United States and Mexico will continue environmental cooperation along the more than 3,000 kilometer U.S. - Mexico border.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] Administrator Lisa Jackson and Mexican Secretary for the Environment Juan Elvira Quesada met in Tijuana, August 8th, to sign the Border 2020 framework agreement. They were joined by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Anthony Wayne; Baja California Governor Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan; Commissioners Drusina and Salmon from the International Boundary and Water Commission; Tijuana Mayor Carlos Bustamante Anchondo; representatives from Baja California, Nuevo Leon, California, and New Mexico; tribal officials; representatives of EPA and Mexico’s environmental protection agency, SEMARNAT.
The Border 2020 Program is the latest environmental initiative implemented under the 1983 La Paz Agreement. It builds on the Border 2012 Environmental 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. Border 2020 will seek to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases, and improve environmental stewardship.
“Since the U.S. and Mexico agreed to collaborate and engage stakeholders from various sectors to address the environmental challenges along our international border, residents from both countries have benefited from cleaner air, water and land,” said EPA Administrator Jackson.
Environmental Secretary of Mexico Elvira acknowledged cooperation between Mexico and the United States through the Border 2012 program and noted the accomplishments which include the removal of over 6.8 million used tires and cleaning up the waste disposal sites in Mexicali, Baja California. He explained there were over 140 projects that reduced air, water and soil pollutants; protected environmental health, prepared our response to environmental emergencies, and promoted compliance with environmental laws. Fourteen million inhabitants along the U.S. – Mexico border benefit from these projects.
Ambassador Wayne, in his discussions with U.S. and Mexican officials, noted that pollutants are a shared challenge and responsibility and expressed confidence that Border 2020 will build on the successes of Border 2012.