U.S.-Mexico Team to Clean Up Air, Water at Border

At a ceremony concluding this year's Border 2012 National Coordinators meeting in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the United States and Mexico pledged to continue removing millions of abandoned tires, provide additional water and sanitation, promote biodiesel, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from diesel trucks operating along the border, according to a Sept. 5 press release.

"As partners, the U.S. and Mexico are working together to tackle tough environmental issues in the border area," said Laura Yoshii, deputy regional administrator for EPA's Pacific Southwest Region. "Our joint efforts along the border have lead to significant environmental accomplishments benefiting U.S., Mexican, and Tribal communities."

At this year's meeting, environmental successes include:

• The Border Environment Infrastructure Fund has brought improved sanitation and drinking water to more than 4 million people;

• Through the U.S. Tribal Border infrastructure program, more than 8,100 homes have been provided with safe drinking water or basic sanitation. Also, a new sanitary facility was completed in the indigenous communities of San Jose de la Zorra and San Antonio Necua;

• The Mexican communities of Ciudad Juarez, Matamoros, Reynosa, Piedras Negras, San Luis Rio Colorado, Palomas, and Ascension removed scrap tire piles, reducing the threat of fires and diseases such as dengue, West Nile virus, and malaria;

• Transporte Limpio, modeled after EPA's SmartWay, will increase fuel efficiency and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from diesel trucks operating along the border.

"As we set out to do last year, we took stock of our accomplishments, identified key actions to complete our work, and committed to more aggressive targets in cases where we have achieved our original goals," said Armando Yanez, national coordinator for Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT).

The U.S. EPA's Border 2012 U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program protects the environment and public health for 10 states on both sides of the 2,000-mile border, including 26 U.S. tribes and seven groups of Mexican indigenous people. The Border 2012 seeks to reduce pollution in water, air, and on land, reduce exposure to chemicals from accidental releases or terrorism, and improve environmental stewardship.

For more information, visit: http://www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder/.

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