GNEB 2005 February Round-Up Newsletter
Volume 5, Number 11
Good Neighbor Environmental Board
Board and environmental news along the U.S.-Mexico border
Good Neighbor Board News
from the Good Neighbor Environmental Board
February 2005 Round-Up
Neighbor Environmental Board 2005 Meetings
May 10-11 - Washington, D.C.
October 17-19 - Tohono O'odham Nation (near Tucson, AZ)
Eagle Pass Meeting Includes Local Success Stories, Visit to Colonia Community
Thanks to excellent advance work from planning committee members Steve Niemeyer/Victor Wong, Sally Spener, and Gary Gillen, the Board's first 2005 meeting in Eagle Pass on February 16th and 17th was extremely productive. And the local community gave the Board a warm welcome. The meeting began with a pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag (and the Texas flag) and was led by the Rosita Valley Literacy Academy of Loma Linda Colonia. The Board then heard welcome remarks from Jose Aranda, Maverick County Judge; Magdalena Herrera, Eagle Pass Mayor Pro Tem; and Roy Bernal, on behalf of Kickapoo Tribe Chair Juan Garza.
Speakers for the morning included Roberto Gonzalez, Eagle Pass Water Utility Director; and Hector Chavez, Eagle Pass Public Works Director. Board members then began reporting out on recent activities within their organizations, and a public comment session took place with several speakers, including one from NADB. The Board and interested members of the public then departed for lunch at a local restaurant, where a room had been set aside for a presentation from Keynote Lunch Speaker Buddy Garcia, Texas Assistant Secretary of State.
After lunch, back at the Middle Rio Grande Workforce Center conference room, the Board heard from more local experts: Ing. Luis Eustaquio Gurrola, General Manager, SIMAS, Piedras Negras; and a joint presentation from Alven Lam of HUD and Jean Parcher of USGS. Like the morning presentations, the talks were followed by a question and answer session that included Board members and other attendees.
Mid-afternoon, the Board and other attendees departed for La Central Community Center of Loma Linda Colonia. There, they heard presentations from Sandra Fuentes, Co-Chair of the Border Organization; community leaders Luz Liserio, Esperanza Guajardo, and Nina Polendo; Domingo Davalos of the Colonias Initiative; and Center Director Sabino Garza. Before leaving, the Board chatted with Center staff and families over home-made refreshments. The first day ended with a brief tour of the nearby Kickapoo Reservation.
Local media coverage of the first day was quite extensive: a front-page story in Spanish in the Eagle Pass bilingual newspaper, The News Gram; a front-page story in the English-language newspaper Eagle Pass News-Guide; morning news coverage from local radio station KEPSAM.KINLFM; an interview during a meeting break with a local NBC news affiliate; and attendance by a reporter from the Piedras Negras newspaper, La Voz.
The second day of the meeting, February 17th, consisted of a routine business meeting and the Board's annual Strategic Planning Session.
Eighth Report, on Water Resources Management, Out March 8th at Border 2012
"Water Resources Management on the U.S.-Mexico Border," the Board's Eighth Report to the President and Congress, is scheduled to be launched on March 8th in Tucson, Arizona at the Border 2012 National Coordinators' Meeting. The report will be posted on the website that day. Hard copies will be available by calling the National Center for Environmental Publications at 1-800-490-9198 and requesting a copy of the report by its number, EPA 130-R-05-001.
Ninth Report Topics Determined
The Board came to consensus during its annual Strategic Planning Session on the two topics it will provide advice on for its next report: transportation; and cultural and natural resources. Cross-cutting issues that also may be incorporated include environmental education; asymmetry; and air issues. Besides these two main topics, federal members will each provide a short summary of their agency's 2005 border-region environmental activities; the write-up will be included as a stand-alone section within the report. The Ninth Report is scheduled to be released early in 2006.
The Board's counterpart Mexican advisory groups, the Consejos, continue to meet to formulate advice for SEMARNAT. Of special interest are the activities of the Northeast and Northwest Consejos, which incorporate environmental issues along the northern border with the United States. (See Calendar section for upcoming Consejo meetings.)
Northeast Consejo member Andres Ochoa was invited to attend the Board's meeting in Eagle Pass, but was unable to attend. However, he sent a report after the meeting conveying Consejo news, including the information that his group is participating in an ecological characterization of the Burgos, Basin, one of Mexico's major natural gas reserves. The outcome will determine environmental regulations on exploration and exploitation of the reserves, according to Ochoa. Participating universities include the University of Tamaulipas, University of Coahuila, and the Monterrey Technical Institute.
Paul Ganster, Chair, Discusses Aquatic Invasive Species Comment Letter
with Federal Officials
To help continue raising the Board's visibility among federal policymakers, Board Chair Paul Ganster met with officials from the National Invasive Species Council on February 3rd in Washington, D.C. to discuss concerns raised in last year's Comment Letter on invasive aquatic species problems in the border region. One outcome: Council Staff Director Lori Williams said additional copies of the letter will be distributed within her organization as well to members of the Council's own advisory committee.
New Comment Letter Issued on BECC-NADB Business Process Review
The Board's latest Comment Letter is in response to the call for public comment on the BECC-NADB Business Process Review. The letter makes two points: 1) To date, BECC has not had the necessary resources to carry out its responsibilities to the best of its ability; therefore, it has not always been optimally positioned to carry out quality-control functions such as technical assistance, monitoring of sustainable development project components, and full public involvement. 2) When the Boards of the two organizations are merged, the Chair of the new, merged Board should be one of the public-member members or, at a minimum, the Chair position should be alternated between federal agency members and public members.
|****Note: The items in the section below have been cut-and-pasted and compiled from other documents. Please check a primary source to ensure complete accuracy. Web sites may have to be re-entered..***|
Air Quality - EPA is partnering with UPS, Eaton Corp., International Truck & Engine
Corp. and the U.S Army National Automotive Center to build a full hydraulic
hybrid urban delivery vehicle designed to enhance fuel economy and reduce
harmful emissions. The project draws on technological advances in full
hydraulic hybrid and clean diesel combustion made at EPA's National
Vehicle and Fuel Emission Laboratory. See: www.epa.gov/otaq/technology/index.htm#hybrid
Also, the Joint Advisory Committee for the Improvement of Air Quality in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua / El Paso, Texas / Doña Ana County, New Mexico Air Basin (JAC) is seeking nominations from private citizens or members of a non-governmental organization for an open position on the committee. Deadline: March 31, 2005. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, EPA seeks public comment on requirements for the Operating Permits Program under Title V of the Clean Air Act. The notice requests input on identifying the best approaches to improve emissions monitoring. See: www.epa.gov/ttn/oarpg/new.html.
EPA also is accepting public comment on regulatory options for maintaining NOx quality standards under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program. The proposed options are: 1) retain the existing increments established in 1988; 2) allow states to implement an interstate cap and trade program for sources of NOx; or 3) allow states to adopt their own planning strategies. Comments will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. See: www.epa.gov/nsr/actions.html
Finally, EPA has announced an air quality compliance agreement to address emissions from certain animal feeding operations (AFO). The agreement will establish an industry-funded emissions monitoring program that will help gather data to develop methods for estimating emissions from different types and sizes of feeding operations. Qualifying AFOs may sign up to participate within 90 days following publication of the agreement in the Federal Register. See: www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr-0501.html
Children's Environmental Health – According to the Arizona
Daily Star, researchers from the University of Arizona are investigating
possible links between prolonged drought and childhood leukemia in Sierra
Vista, Arizona. The article references preliminary studies that have shown
elevated levels of tungsten, a heavy metal that is currently been investigated
by the National Toxicology Program as a potential carcinogen. Researchers
believe that drought may be a contributing factor to higher levels of airborne
At the international level, an article in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, suggests that childhood cancers may be associated with prenatal exposure through inhaling of industrial and environmental pollutants by the mother. See: http://press.psprings.co.uk/jech/february/101_ch21675.pdf
Ecosystems - The Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands on the U.S.-Mexico border has been named as one of nine new environmental "hot spots," according to a recent report from Conservation International.
Emergency Response - According to a recent article in KFOX14 News, the cities of Sunland Park, New Mexico and Puerto de Anarapa, Chihuahua recently carried out an emergency response exercise to improve communication between the two cities in responding to an emergency or a disaster.
Energy – New Mexico is one of six states participating in an energy
efficiency and renewable energy project sponsored by EPA and the National
Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). The project
will seek approaches for reducing the cost of consumer electric and gas
through the implementation of cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable
energy. See: www.epa.gov/cleanenergy
Also, California, New Mexico and Texas are among ten states participating in the new Clean Energy-Environment Partnership Program. Under the program, states will work with EPA on developing and implementing a state-specific energy-environment action plan to improve air quality, decrease energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance economic development. See www.epa.gov/cleanenergy.
Environmental Justice - The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program is accepting applications from community-based organizations for this year's program. Dateline for submission of applications is April 5, 2005. See: www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/grants/ej_smgrants.html
EPA - The President has released the Administration's proposed budget, including $7.6 billion for EPA; the proposal is now subject to review by Congress.
Pesticides – EPA has issued an interpretive statement and a proposed rule on the topic of pesticides and water, inviting public comment. The Agency says both documents reflect its policy that a Clean Water Action permit is not required where application of a particular pesticide to, or over, water is consistent with requirements under FIFRA. The proposed rule is in response to a recent court rule requesting clarification regarding Clean Water Act permitting requirements for pesticide application. See: www.epa.gov/npdes/agriculture#pesticides.
Research - EPA has published a notice that describes the standards the Agency uses to evaluate whether or not to rely on human-based studies that are submitted for its reference. The notice also invites public comment on the initiatives the Agency will undertake to develop a comprehensive plan for the review and consideration of future studies that involve human subjects. The comment period is open for 90 days. See: www.epa.gov/pesticides/
Toxic Chemicals – A rule initiating mandatory reporting requirements
for an industrial pollutant release and transfer register went into effect
in Mexico January 31. The rule requires companies under federal jurisdiction
to file annual reports on 104 listed substances beginning May 2005. See: www.semarnat.gob.mx
Also, to encourage better interagency collaboration and improve permit application efficiency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Office of Surface Mining have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) related to surface coal mining operations that involve placing dredged or fill material in waters of the United States. The MOU will offer a framework for a collaborative environmental review process addressing fish and wildlife considerations. See: www.epa.gov/owow/wetlands/.
Finally, EPA has established an official reference dose (RfD) of 0.0007 mg/kg/day for perchlorate. (A reference dose is a scientific estimate of a daily exposure level that is not expected to cause adverse health effects in humans.) The Agency says this level is consistent with the recommended reference dose included in the National Academy of Science's January 2005 report. The Agency's Superfund cleanup program plans to issue guidance based on the new RfD. See www.epa.gov/perchlorate
Waste - Binationally, as part of Border 2012, a first meeting of the U.S.-Mexico
Waste Policy Forum was held in Tijuana, Mexico on January 19-20. The
forum discussed issues on tire pile clean-up, waste management capacity-building
in Mexico; tracking of exports and imports of hazardous waste; and clean-up
of contaminated sites in the Mexican border area.
At the national level, EPA has established a nationally standardized manifest form for tracking hazardous waste shipments. The Agency says that the standardized form will facilitate the tracking of shipments such as container residues, rejected wastes and international shipments. See: www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hazwaste/gener/manifest/mods.htm
Watersheds – EPA has invited Governors and Tribal leaders to nominate
projects for the third round of grants under its Targeted Watersheds
Grant Program. Deadline: May 19, 2005. See: www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative/.
Please check a primary source for accuracy. Events specific to border region are in bold. Web sites may have to be re-entered. Please notify Editor of changes.****
|Mar 2-4||ISO 9001:2000 Training, Hermosillo, Sonora, MX.|
|Mar 8||Border 2012 Arizona-Sonora Emergency Preparedness and Response Task Force Meeting, Nogales, AZ.|
|Mar 8||Good Neighbor Environmental Board launch of Eighth Report, Border 2012 Meeting, Tucson, AZ.|
|Mar 8-9||Border 2012 Air Policy Forum meetings|
|Mar 8-10||Border 2012 National Coordinators Meeting, Tucson, AZ.|
|Mar 10||USIBWC Citizens' Forum, San Diego, CA.|
|Mar 9-11||ISO 9001:2000 Training, Nogales, Sonora, MX|
|Mar 18||Border 2012 Arizona-Sonora water task force, Hermosillo, Sonora, MX|
|Mar 18-19||ISO 14000 Training, Hermosillo, Sonora, MX|
|Mar 29-31||ICEHH International Conference on Environmental & Human Health, El Paso, TX.|
|Mar 30-Apr 1||Salton Sea Symposium, San Diego, CA.|
|Mar 31||Border 2012 Environmental Education Taskforce and Environmental Education Council meeting, Tijuana, Baja California, MX|
|Apr 4||USIBWC Lower Rio Grande Citizens' Forum, TBA|
|Apr 6||University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center Conference, Tucson AZ.|
|World Health Day|
|Apr 8||Border 2012 Sonora-Arizona Children's Environmental Health Taskforce|
|Apr 10-16||National Environmental Education Week|
|Apr 11-14||USGS National Water Quality Monitoring Council Meeting, Annapolis MD|
|Apr 13-15||Association of Border Studies Conference|
|Apr 18-20||Border Institute VII, Rio Rico, AZ|
|Apr 19-21||DOI U.S.-Mexico Field Coordinating Committee, Tucson AZ|
|Apr 25-27||International Salinity Forum, Riverside, CA.|
|NAC/GAC meeting Washington DC|
|May 3||USIBWC Colorado River Citizens' Forum, Yuma or San Luis|
|May 4||USIBWC Rio Grande Citizens' Forum, Las Cruces, NM|
|MAY 10-11||Good Neighbor Environmetal Board Meeting, Washington, D.C.|
|May 15-19||World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Anchorage, AKA|
|May 16-18||Fifth Border Environment Conference (Encuentro Fronterizo) in Rosarito, Baja California|
|May 24-26||DOI U.S.-Mexico Border FCC Meeting, Tucson, AZ|
|Jun||US IBWC Rio Grande Watershed Summit|
|Jun 12-15||International Combustion Effects Conference, Tucson, AZ|
|Jun 16-17||Institute of the Americas 2nd Annual Conference on Latin American Sustainable Development, La Jolla, CA.|
|Jun 20||Twelfth Annual CEC Session, Quebec City, Canada (tentatively wk. of 20th)|
|Jul 12-14||Universities Council on Water Resources Conference, Portland, ME|
|July 22-25||Business and Economic Society International Conference, Flagstaff, AZ|
|Aug 21-24||International Conference on Environmental Effects of Agricultural Practices, Hilo Hawaii|
|Oct 13-15||US-Mexico Border Energy Forum XII, Santa Fe, N.M. click here to email us|
|OCT 17-19||Good Neighbor Environmetal Board Meeting, Tohono O'Odham Nation (near Tucson)|
|Oct 20-21||NAC/GAC meeting Washington DC|
|Oct 30-Nov 3||International Society of Exposure Analysis (ISEA) 15th Annual Conference, Tucson, AZ. Contact (520) 529-0000.|
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