Detailed Meeting Summary/Minutes Washington DC 2004
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
GOOD NEIGHBOR ENVIRONMENTAL BOARD
Feb. 24-25, 2004
Meeting Summary/ Minutes of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Good Neighbor Environmental Board
Feb. 24-25, 2004
Placido Dos Santos, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Board Members and Alternates Present
Dora Alcala, Mayor, Del R-io, Texas
Larry Allen, Malpai Borderlands Group
Diana Borja, Office of Border Affairs, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Karen Chapman, Environmental Defense, Austin, Texas
Gedi Cibas, Border Coordinator, New Mexico Environment Department
Arturo Duran, Commissioner, International Boundary and Water Commission
Paul Ganster (by telephone, Feb. 25)
Valecia Gavin, President, Border Environmental Health Coalition, Doña Ana County, New Mexico
John Klein, U.S. Geological Survey, Department of Interior
Linda Lawson, Director for Safety, Energy and Environment, Department of Transportation
Dennis Linskey, U.S.-Mexico Border Affairs Coordinator, Department of State
Christine Machion, Department of Housing and Urban Development (representing Shannon Sorzano Feb. 25)
Thomas Mampilly, Department of Health and Human Services (representing Dick Walling Feb. 24)
Ned Norris, Vice Chairman, Tohono O'odham Tribe
Jerry Paz, consulting engineer, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Ken Ramirez, lawyer (water rights, environmental), Austin (Feb. 24)
Ed Ranger, ADEQ Phoenix, Arizona; special counsel
Diane Rose, Mayor, Imperial Beach, California
Doug Smith, Corporate Environmental Affairs, Sony Electronics
Shannon Sorzano, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Feb. 24)
Nancy Sutley, California State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento
Bob Varady, Deputy Director, Udall Center for Public Policy, University of Arizona
Dick Walling, Office of the Americas in the Middle East, Department of Health and Human Services (Feb. 25)
Laura Yoshii, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator, San Francisco
Daiva Balkus, Director, Office of Cooperative Environmental Management (OCEM)
David Batson, Facilitator
Geraldine Brown, OCEM
Oscar Carrillo, GNEBAssociate Designated Federal Officer
Elaine Koerner, GNEB Designated Federal Officer
William Luthens, Region 6
Paul Michel, Southwest Border Program Office, Region 9
Megan Moreau, Office of International Affairs
Eliot Tucker, Border Infrastructure Program
Lois Williams, OCEM
Speakers and Attendees
David Barrett, Sempra Energy
James Connaughton, Chair, Council on Environmental Quality (keynote address)
Melissa Dubinsky, Stone and Webster Management Consultants
Kerstin Erickson, Stanford University
Antonio Flores, Public Affairs Director, North American Development Bank (NADBank)
Luiz Augusto Cassanha Galvao, Sustainable Development and Environmental, Pan American Health Organization
Jorge Garcias, Deputy Managing Director, NADBank
Lori Gray, Assistant Regional Director for the Lower Colorado River Region, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Interior
Lori Hidinger, Ecological Society of America
Mark Kilgore, Louis Berger Group, Research Fellow at University of Texas at Austin
Fernando Macias, General Manager, Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC)
Teodoro Maus, Minister, SEMARNAT
Ciro Martinex, Eastern Research Group
Fernanda Montano, SEMARNAT
Robert Pastor, Vice President of International Affairs at American University and Director of the Center on North American Studies
Mike Pool, Bureau of Land Management, California Director
Mayra Quiri-Dongo, Natural Resources Defense Council
Dave Schlesinger, Bajagua Project
Susan Schmidt, Manatt Jones Global Strategies
Dean Scott, Daily Environment Report
Jim Simmons, Bajagua Project
Matt Simmons, Ferguson Group
William Snape, Chief Counsel, Defenders of Wildlife
Bob Stein, U.S. Department of Transportation
Rick Van Schoik, Director, Southwest Center for Environmental Research and Policy (SCERP)
Bob Ybarra, consultant, former Board member
Al Zapanta, President and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce
Detailed Meeting Summary, February 24, 2004
The Good Neighbor Environmental Board (the Board) is an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) independent advisory committee. It advises the U.S. President and Congress on good-neighbor practices along the U.S.-Mexico border. The focus is on the environmental infrastructure needs of the U.S. states that are contiguous to Mexico.
Day 1 - February 24, 2004
Dennis Linskey and Arturo Duran offered federal report-outs. Mr. Linskey described recent and upcoming political activity in the United States and Mexico, and mentioned the new issues that have dominated the bilateral relationship since September 2001, including a slowdown in trade and a deterioration of economic ties. A slowdown at border crossings has an effect on the regional environment. Mr. Duran discussed his first weeks as Commissioner for the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), which have included the signing of Minute 311.
Panel 1: Government Experts
Jerry Clifford, EPA
Mr. Clifford commended the Board on its Seventh Report and offered updates on the Border 2012 Program, the agency's funding for a Clean Bus Grant Program, investments to improve Mexico's hazardous waster facilities, and partnerships with the Pan-American Health Organization. He also discussed the plan for an efficient unified board for the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and the North American Development Bank (NADBank). While those groups' funding capabilities decreases, their process for certifying projects has sped up, leading to greater shortfalls.
Minister Teodoro Maus, Mexico Secretariat for Environment and Natural
Mr. Maus discussed the benefits and difficulties of being a neighbor to the U.S., sharing a border he described as being the only example of a developing country next to a highly industrialized country. Amid immediate security concerns, the environment is often an easy issue to put aside. Water, more than anything else, can be the source of either conflict or cooperation. He expressed concern for the side effects of the Yuma desalination plant. The resulting higher salt concentration in the water that will reach the Colorado delta, he said, will essentially kill the delta.
Mike Pool, Bureau of Land Management, California Director
Mr. Pool discussed the increasing demand for water, the urbanizing border population, the different issues faced by rural areas, the environmental effects of illegal immigration, the many partnerships between the two countries on environmental issues, and the importance of education and information sharing.
Mr. Cibas: One preeminent theme is the scarcity of resources. What suggestions
do you have for the Board's consideration, and what initiatives
are under your umbrellas for releasing these constraints?
Mr. Clifford: One could simply increase the budget. There is a strong reliance on the U.S. for capacity building. There is potential in trying to leverage state involvement and state-to-state connections, and in helping states further inland. Extending to public health, trade and tourism issues leads to more opportunities for leveraging. The Board is encouraged to look at water pricing—currently no one is paying what it takes to produce clean water, and if people had to pay appropriately, it would help with both project funding and conservation—cross-border planning, and a binational water-quality database.
Mr. Pool: The use of foundations, donations, NGOs, and challenge cost-share programs can leverage our capability so we do not always rely on federal appropriations. Also, technology transfers and information exchange happen in both directions and are free. We have learned a lot from our Mexican counterparts, who are very creative and innovative with a limited amount of money.
Mr. Norris discussed the toll taken on the Tohono O'odham Nation by illegal border crossing, which has increased dramatically as Homeland Security measures have created a bottleneck coming through tribal land. He also asked about the outlook for the tribal border water/wastewater program, which has been an asset and which has complemented the effort of Indian Health Service. Ms. Yoshii confirmed that the program's funding has been greatly reduced, but that EPA was continuing to work with tribes to secure funding support.
Ms. Chapman wondered what it takes to get full funding for the Border Environmental Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), for which the Board had written comment letters. Mr. Clifford replied that the more people in positions of influence who understand the impact of not funding a project, the better.
Ms. Sutley said that the barriers to water conservation, recycling and reuse are many: public acceptance, regulatory issues, the cost of recycling to produce high-quality water, contaminants, etc. Also, the EPA could be helpful in trying to develop legal mechanisms to donate monitoring equipment to Mexico. Mr. Clifford said an easy mechanism is to find an NGO willing to take the equipment. Mr. Maus said there have been problems with attempts to donate ambulances, and that part of capacity building is creating NGOs and opportunities for tax-deductible donation.
Mr. Ranger: In light of the 10th anniversary of NAFTA, what
thought is going to this inequitable subsidy that the border states are
for the increased impact along the border?
Mr. Clifford: The border states are the first place job-seeking immigrants arrive, but the wave is affecting other states. The long-term solution is to analyze why people come, and until people in Mexico have the ability to earn the same type of money they can in the U.S., little will change. And the more these issues are linked with something like public health, which commands a lot of attention, the more ability there will be to address them.
Mr. Maus suggested also looking at where the money goes that is sent back to Mexico by workers in the U.S.
Mr. Varady: A new observer would wonder why the government is cutting its revenues so drastically, why it is cutting taxes, which are the way we have paid for water infrastructure? When Mr. Clifford says we should be paying more for water, that is what we were doing when we were paying taxes.
Mr. Van Schoik offered to provide the Board with a recent SCERP study on international water pricing.
Jim Simmons and Dave Schlesinger discussed public-private partnerships
through Bajagua. Such partnerships, Mr. Schlesinger said, are "nothing
more than an allocation of risk to where the risk can be best handled" and
are "going to represent the future of water and wastewater treatment
on the border."
(Panel 1 Ends)
In her report-out, Ms. Yoshii updated the Board on the implementation of Border 2012, whose workgroups are detailed at www.epa.gov/usmexicoborder. They have received many proposals already for project funding. Mr. Luthens added that they have also had proposals for some Clean Air Act money, such as for diesel retrofit and energy projects.
Mr. Dos Santos reported on his, Ms. Balkus and Ms. Koerner's meeting with EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. They presented him with the Seventh Report. When asked what the EPA can do on the border, Mr. Dos Santos stressed water and wastewater infrastructure funding: the BEIF.
Mr. Klein reported that climate specialists are becoming convinced that we are on the threshold of what could become a very long and devastating drought. Reservoirs are 60 percent below normal for the Colorado River. Many management scenarios may have been formulated during wetter periods.
James Connaughton, Council on Environmental Quality
Mr. Connaughton congratulated on Board on the Seventh Report, which is especially valuable in reminding readers that as we talk about the environment, a critical endpoint is public health. The Report, he added, is strengthened by the Board's diverse membership. He described the border as merely a point in a shared water-based ecosystem. It is becoming a complex of binational cities unlike anything else in the world. He encouraged the Board to synthesize subject areas in a way to facilitate the locality decision-making toward a common vision and a guiding framework. He stressed the importance of education, as well as an integrated observing network, which has health study and planning benefits, too. Mr. Connaughton also spoke of the importance of wetlands, pointing to recent legislation for further projects and to public-private partnerships. He addressed air pollution and praised efforts over past decades. When you bring air pollution down, he said, it increases your ability to bring economic development up, advancing economic, social and environmental opportunities without the air as a constraint.
Questions and Comments
Ms. Sutley raised the concern over BEIF funding. Mr. Connaughton mentioned recent success with Tijuana sewage, and was hopeful that a good model of success breeds more success and that increased economic growth will produce additional revenue streams. He also stressed the importance of partnerships.
Mr. Ranger: How can we partner in the interconnection between climate
change and air quality?
Mr. Connaughton: On the climate change issue we, basically, have a three-tiered strategy. One is advancing the research in terms of our continued understanding of the priority areas that we need to know and understand to make better policy decisions. Tier two is technology. Everybody in the climate change dialogue agrees that it is transformation technology that is the solution to dramatically reducing greenhouse gases. On the transportation side, it is fundamental that we get to a new transportation system. And, again, the U.S. has led the way, but in partnership with key developed and developing countries for the first time and accelerating the time to a hydrogen-based transportation system.
Ms. Rose: How do you reconcile conflicts between homeland security,
border patrol issues, and the environmental issues? Do you dialogue with
the security folks? How does that work?
Mr. Connaughton: We have just gone through the process of working with the Department of Homeland Security to put in place their first new NEPA Regulations for their environmental review process. In terms of the substance of it, how do you reconcile? Of course, there is no ready answer to that. The upfront participation of localities in those discussions to try to find a way to meet the paramount security needs with the least impact on our natural systems. Sometimes non-expert, non-ecosystem expert professionals overlook opportunities. And, again, that is why we have this very important environmental review process.
Panel 2: Private Sector Experts
Al Zapanta, President and CEO of the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Zapanta explained that, for perspective on what is going on with private sector along the border, the Chamber participated on two major projects with EPA and one with SEMARNAT where the Chamber has felt that we needed to engage directly with the side agreements after NAFTA was promulgated. The Seven Principals of Environmental Stewardship for industry was finalized about 2½ years ago. The Chamber has now done a refinement of that, and is moving forward on its own with SEMARNAT and a private sector project that is in Baja California sewage, the Laredo Bay Project.
What is important is that the private sector is what is going to drive many of the changes, and they are going to do it voluntarily. And the more we can engage with private sector along the border, and on both sides in our countries to include our neighbors to the north, the more successful we will be. The Laredo Bay Project, involving $2 billion and 5,000 homes to be built in Nopolo, has been an example of this. It is partnership of a group out of Victoria, Canada, and a group out of Phoenix. One percent of all the sales of the properties will go into a social, educational, economic and sustainable-development foundation with a board of directors from Laredo, Canada, and the United States. So it is really the first major sustainable-development community that is a "NAFTA baby."
Mr. Zapanta strongly urge the group to, wherever possible, ensure that the private sector is part and parcel of not only dialogue, but the Board's process. He observed a kind of narrowmindedness or a sensitivity to not want to talk to the private sector.
Dr. Robert Pastor, Vice President of International Affairs at American
University and Director of the Center on North American Studies
Mr. Pastor urged the group to step back and look at the border problems from an alternative direction, from a North American direction, from a continental direction. The North American Free Trade Agreement succeeded in what it was designed to do, which was to promote trade and investment, but it failed miserably in reducing the development gap between Mexico and its two northern neighbors, in reducing immigration, although it was promised to do that. In fact, illegal migration has tripled in the last decade since NAFTA.
In the absence of a true development strategy for North America, there is an unspoken development strategy which, essentially, says for foreign direct investors, invest near the border, congregate there, do not necessarily invest in the border, but invest in your factories on the border, which serve as magnets for additional labor coming from Central and Southern Mexico.
Europe has succeeded in significantly reducing the development gap between their richest and poorest countries. Why? Free trade and investment, conditionality in terms of economic policy, but mostly the transfer of an enormous amount of resources, particularly effective in infrastructure and post-secondary education. What can we learn from Europe? Number one: they wasted about half of the money. The only money that was well spent was on infrastructure and post-secondary education. Number two: do not create many new banks and institutions; use existing institutions. And number three: condition the aid on genuine reforms and effective use of those resources.
How do we bring Mexico, Canada, and particularly the United States to
the point that all three countries recognize that there is no investment
abroad that would accrue more benefits in the United States than an investment
in Mexico's development, but only if Mexico were to make a comparable
investment in its own development? We need to be sure that that money
would be well spent, as it would be if the World Bank and the Inter-American
Development Bank and the North American Development Bank, would take
a hand in implementing all of that.
William Snape, Chief Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife
Mr. Snape noted that there is an incredible demand for power and energy resources, or at least a perception of a demand for those resources—but most objective individuals and researchers do indicate an increased demand for energy. Energy planning is happening in such a helter-skelter fashion right now that he fears that not only are we not really going to solve our energy problems because plants are being built wherever possible, we are going to cause a lot of problems in the process. In Mexico, there really are some opportunities. Wind power is not being captured in Mexico to the extent that it can. The same with solar, which is under-invested in Mexico and is a win/win for both economics and the environment. We do not need more institutions, but we need the ones we have to take some baby steps. For example, IBWC needs to be given more decision-making ability and to be more accountable. The IBWC continues in many instances, despite its improvement, to be a black box. No one is really quite sure what happens there.
Luiz Augusto Cassanha Galvao, Sustainable Development and Environmental,
Pan American Health Organization
Mr. Galvao observed that if the world could be provided with equitable access to safe water and sanitation, it could wipe out more than 2 million needless deaths of children every year, plus countless cases of diarrhea, missed days of school, years of disability, and millions of dollars of productivity loss. The statistics show that with improved access to clean water and sanitation, infant and child mortality rates plunge. Development goals that target improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation by specific years will be attained more easily in the rural sectors rather than the urban sector. Rural areas are not improving so much as that the rural populations are decreasing, which improves the statistics. The population explosion on the U.S.-Mexico border creates strain on the infrastructure, which is complicated by environmental stressors and insufficient supply of water, particularly from the Rio Grande.
Questions and Comments
Mr. Duran stated that unless we, as government, have something specific to offer to the private sector, they are not going to step up to the level that we would like them to. It would be good if Mr. Zapanta's leadership could assist in that endeavor and see if there can be something that can be put together in a framework on behalf of the industry for all three governments to consider. At the policy level, Mr. Duran thinks those incentives need to be specific with some very target goals and objectives. Mr. Pastor's words and presentation were stimulating. One of the major shortcomings of NAFTA is that the expectation was that all three governments should take care of it. It is a very high and unrealistic expectation. How we can bring that down to the local level and sustain those economies is really something to be looking for. We need to focus on how we go about building capacity at the local level and how local communities go about addressing their own issues and start looking for local problems, local solutions, and how we can all facilitate a process and empower that. Then, leverage the existing resources in partnership.
Mr. Zapanta agreed, and said that the Chamber would be willing to work with Mr. Duran, or anybody else. Thinking about NAFTA, there is the impact of China in the last couple of years coming into the trade market, which means a slowdown for Mexico. The Partnership for Prosperity should be continued, to try to go into migrant-sending regions and help develop economic development programs so people would stay, and eventually start to stem the tide of migration.
Mr. Pastor understood why it might feel overwhelming at the border,
and realized at the same time that the national governments are not helping
much. To a great extent, national governments felt that NAFTA would solve
all problems. What is necessary is a national development strategy, a
continental development strategy for all three that would permit the
center and the south to grow in a fashion that would relieve the pressure
on the border. And that does require a significant amount of investment.
He felt that what the group could do is to bring that consciousness to
the capitals, because he does not believe that our national leaders are
fully aware of both the pressure felt on the border and the necessity
of developing all three countries in a more cooperative fashion.
Ms. Alcala agreed with the focus on the population shift. This needs to be brought up in relation to what the border communities are seeing and going through because of NAFTA, which has been good in one way, but in another, we are not keeping up with the infrastructure.
Mr. Paz pointed out that with NAFTA, in exchange for all the activity that was going to go on along the border, Congress promised $100 million a year. That is part of the deal that has not been lived up to, and to expect the private sector to come in and say they are going to pick up the gap is unrealistic. To say that other NGOs are going to pick up the gap is unrealistic.
Ms. Sutley stated that California was the only recipient of a kind of active investment dispute with respect to the decision to ban the gasoline additive MTBE, which survived a court challenge in federal court in the United States, but is still alive in front of the NAFTA panel.
Dr. Pastor noted there was some very pioneering elements of that provision, but he does not believe that it was ever intended to be used in the way that it has been used, which is, to an effect, to protect investment at the cost of undermining environmental regulations at a local or provincial level. That needs to be corrected, together with the fact that most of the processes by which those disputes have been judged, have been closed. We need to open them up, make them transparent, and also make clear that they should not be used for the purpose of undermining environmental regulations. The dispute settlement mechanism should be moved and changed into a permanent cord of trade and investment to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.
(Panel 2 Ends)
Guest Speakers on Water Management
Dr. Stephen Mumme, Colorado State University, Professor of Political Science
Dr. Mumme noted that in its Fifth Report, the Board advised the government to support efforts for increased collection in data sharing about border-region groundwater resources, to encourage greater binational cooperation and border groundwater management, and to support partnerships at all levels that promote strategic watershed principles. That is still very useful advice. Challenges include rising demand, urban expansion, rising per-capita use in Mexico, limited sources of new water, difficult storage, costly technologies, and insufficient institutional capability to deal with some of the scarcities. We need to work with the institutions we have to build further institutional capacity.
The 1906 agreement, the1944 Water Treaty, the La Passe Agreement, Border 2012 and Border XXI are all mechanisms that guide binational water use. What are the mechanisms for improving our binational status quo? There is a range of somewhat less formal options that can be adopted at the state, local and tribal level to pursue concurrent compatible changes in water management that synchronize local programs to achieve a binational benefit. The federal is there, and the federal is an important framing element in thinking about anything done at the state, tribal, and local levels. Tribal really straddles federal and local and is a unique jurisdictional reality along the border.
But there is the IBWC arrangement. We can pursue minutes in between our two governments. We have Border 2012 Workgroup policy forums and task forces, and we have the BECC and the NADBank operating as a truly binational forum for developing technical assistance certification and funded projects. The Board should think about treaty-compatible, binational reform options for surface water and watersheds, and then for groundwater.
The IBWC, designated lead federal agency for binational water management, is in some ways a limited agency, but it can be developed. The IBWC's role in fact-finding and data collection, strategic planning, and notification of crises can be elaborated. The IBWC should be a national coordinator and facilitator, in partnership with domestic agencies in anticipating and coordinating binational responses, and we need to seriously develop IBWC's role in monitoring watersheds borderwide.
We need to think about extending at least the U.S. sectional capability to support citizen advisory forums in border watersheds. We need to encourage Mexico to establish complementary bodies. The Board can really take a leading role in trying to catalyze, contact, discuss and encourage Mexico to try and create such bodies within the context that are compatible with Mexican domestic law and treaty authority.
The IBWC ought to build in a technical scientific advisory component that can be supportive of all these activities that are going on in the border area. It should also augment its staff resources in this area to provide a common frame for the two governments as they cooperate with their consultative and advisory and citizens' bodies so that we are not disputing the data. We need to support increased collection data sharing on a binational basis, but I hope the IBWC does not give up on trying to map groundwater aquifers in a binational way, enriching our understanding of these resources. The IBWC has initiated a very positive set of efforts in this regard, and I hope that they can harness state and local support. I hope the Board can lend some legitimacy to that process.
2). Lori Gray, Assistant Regional Director for the Lower Colorado River
Region, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Interior
For the Colorado River, issues we deal with regularly through IBWC include salinity, sediment, lining the All American Canal (upon which an agreement had been reached to analyze conveying a portion of the treaty water through the All American Canal to Mexico, to some turnouts taking the water closer and providing it in different areas, and to at a greater flexibility for scheduling the water deliveries), the Yuma Desalting Plant, Mexican Delta, and invasive species. The average natural flow is 15.1 million acre-feet. The allocation is 16.5, which is a potential problem. When the allocation was made, we had taken the average flow in years when the flow was very high. We talk about salinity a lot, but in 1950, salinity at the NIB was up around 1,000 parts per million. It is dropping now to just about 800 parts per million. It is also dropping for Imperial Dam. The water being delivered to Mexico is better quality, but it is harder and harder for the U.S. to meet that differential written into Minute 242 of the 1944 Treaty.
Questions and Comments
Mr. Varady: I wanted to talk a little bit about Minute 306, signed in December 2000. It sounds like actually very little has been done to implement what is in that minute.
Ms. Gray: We held a meeting at the Mexicali symposium, September 11, 2001. We had a three-prong agenda to talk about legal issues, to talk about institutional issues—how does the Mexican Government work, who is where in the organization, since the U.S. side of the house really said, "Gee, we don't understand. We are not sure how to work with you." So they were going to lay that out. And then the third piece was environmental information. The U.S. has met. We have met with the environmental groups, we have talked about the protocol. It is only recently that we had the meeting with Mexico.
Mr. Linskey: There was a period in which I think both governments were at an impasse on how to deal with implementing Minute 306. We wanted to continue technical level of discussions; Mexico at that period felt it would be better to bring it to capitals and have it discussed at national level. We lost time but are back on track and following the workgroup structure. In all frankness, sometimes this got tied up into the Rio Grande water issues as well.
Mr. Ramirez: Who is the operator of the Yuma Desalt Plant? Is it a water
quality project, or a drinking water project? Is it going to be permanent
under NPDES regime? Where is the brine discharge?
Ms. Gray: The Yuma Desalting Plant is a Reclamation-constructed and owned facility to recover the 108,000 acre-feet that is being bypassed to Mexico. Mexicans were concerned about the salinity. An easy fix is you take Walt-Mohawk's return drain—they are at the bottom of the system, that is where all the salt accumulates—and you send it over to an area. And the agreement was an area in Mexico, which happens to be the Cienega de Santa Clara. Discharge, the brine, would go down the moat to the Cienega.
Ms. Sutley: Will the desalting plant have any impact on the quality
of water being delivered to California?
Ms. Gray: In general, no.
Mr. Klein: If there was a normal run-off year for the next 10, 12, 14
years, how long would it take to fill the reservoirs?
Ms. Gray: Eighteen years. The 90 percentile probability of refilling Mead by 2010 is between 20 and 24 percent. So we are going to have to see a lot of water to recover the system totally.
Mr. Duran thanked Dr. Mumme for highlighting some of the opportunities in front of the IBWC, adding that he shares some of the same objectives as commissions and looks forward to exploring those opportunities. The treaties are not perfect and we are trying to make them work; however, he sees a lot of other opportunities where the states really can play an instrumental role to complement the treaties. His job will be to market that border region in Washington, D.C. and meet with members of Congress and the Senate so that we can get those level appropriations that are required.
Ms. Borja commented that the point made earlier about closing the development gap is one of the more brilliant things she had heard today. She felt that they had learned to overlook it. We have to begin closing that development gap in terms of technology and facilities, too.
3). Frank Bevacqua, Public Information Officer, U.S.-Canada International
Joint Commission (a counterpart to the IBWC)
The International Joint Commission was created by a 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty, with three commissioners appointed by the U.S. President, with Senate confirmation, and three appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada. They work together to find solutions that are in the best interest of both countries, and they do not receive any negotiating positions from their national governments. Decisions are by consensus. We have approved a number of dams and other projects that control water levels and flows. We also attempt to help the two countries prevent and resolve disputes involving the shared air and water resources. This is mainly when the two countries come to us and ask us to perform a study, in which case we make non-binding recommendations. We also have responsibilities for overseeing the clean-up of the Great Lakes. The treaty deals with waters that are boundary waters that flow along the boundary, as well as rivers that cross the boundary. It gives full control over the waters to the upstream country; both waters that cross the boundary, or waters that flow into boundary waters. No dams or diversions or other projects will be built in boundary waters that effect the natural levels and flows on the other side without some form of binational approval. Either an application is made to the IJC, or the two countries negotiate a separate bilateral agreement. For rivers that cross the boundary, there is binational approval needed if a project would raise the level of the water on the other side. When the IJC is involved in approving a project, its job is to make sure that interests in both countries are protected under the terms of the treaty. Public involvement has been a hallmark of the IJC's process from the beginning. It is very important to get people in different parts of the watershed to talk to each other.
Mr. Bevacqua believes that the effort has been of value because of the independence of the commissioners. It is very important to their function. Even though the two countries have very different populations and economies, in this process there is absolute parity. There is also a focus on science and joint fact-finding.
Questions and Comments
Ms. Sutley: Do the volunteer boards make recommendations to the commission, or do they have sort of independent decision-making authority?
Mr. Bevacqua: When we appoint the board, the commissioners will give the board a directive. The board goes and carries out its process and then comes back with recommendations to the commissioners, who make the final decision.
Ms. Chapman: Is the commission up against the issue of environmental flows?
Mr. Bevacqua: That is a very big issue that was not really considered in the first half of the 20th century, when most of these projects were approved and built. We are looking at defining performance indicators of projects for the environmental functions and trying to optimize the way the system would be regulated.
4). Holly Richter, Technical Committee Chair, Upper San Pedro Program; Riparian Ecologist, Nature Conservancy
Hopefully, the case study on the San Pedro can be extrapolated to other areas. The river flows north into the U.S., and right north of the international border is a 40-mile conservation area owned and managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The center third of the watershed, is called the Sierra Vista sub-watershed. There is also Fort Huachuca, which is a Department of Defense installation, with personnel and a surrounding population. Most of the recharge occurs on the higher mountain areas that define the watershed, and that recharge to the aquifer moves down into the center of the valley and provides the base flows that sustain that riparian corridor over time. In between are a lot of municipal wells and water uses.
We are part of a larger network initially established by the Arizona Department of Water Resources. The partnership itself is a consortium of 20 agencies—federal, state, local agencies—and NGOs. We have private businesses represented. Our priorities are to cooperate in the identification, prioritization, and implementation of comprehensive projects and policies to meet our ground water challenges. It is a very collaborative grassroots effort; we operate under a consensus driven basis. It takes a lot of time, but it is also, I think, a very effective strategy in finding this balance between ecosystem needs and human demands. We sponsor research and monitoring needed for sound decision-making. We have almost 100 different efforts underway by member agencies, including the educational outreach program Waterwise. Our bottom-up collaborative approach to management challenges has resulted in informed decision-making and increased the availability of pooled and leveraged resources for science and project implementation. Cost-benefit analysis is an important tool for looking at projects.
How does this affect cross-border work? What have we done to address those challenges and opportunities? The partnership has an objective to encourage collaboration with Mexican counterparts regarding resources of the basin. There are some simple logistical factors that greatly hinder our ability for cross-border work, such as clearance requirements for federal employees, scientific equipment, and vehicles. There are very limited funds for travel expenses, particularly for our Mexico partners. Translation services are very expensive. Looking at some of the bigger issues, there is a lack of an institutional framework for collaborative regional planning within Mexico. there are also a lot of disparities in our cross-border data collection and analysis, archiving and dissemination. An important thing we could make a lot of progress on is having additional venues for cross-border communication between technical experts.
Questions and Comments
Ms. Chapman: Where did you come up with the funding for conservation easements, and who paid for the conservation easements?
Ms. Richter: It is a collaborative effort between the conservancy, the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Land Management. The Nature Conservancy acts as kind of the broker, using funds, primarily, from the Department of Defense, which has a mitigation requirement under a biological opinion to, basically, mitigate so many acre-feet per year. Then the easement is held by the Bureau of Land Management over the long-term.
Mr. Paz: BECC and NADBank have a technical advisory program where they provide technical experts to help study a lot of these issues. They may not have the funding to build it, or you may get on a priority list that is pretty low in the whole scheme of things, it takes years. Going through that process can at least get the science done. Then the money can flow out of maybe some of the alternatives that are evaluated.
Mr. Linskey: On formal mechanisms for cooperating on watersheds, what happens with the interstate compacts between the states? How would you handle the Rio Grande compact, a Colorado River compact? The other thing is how we handle the differences or treatment in water, where the Mexico water is federal property, and in the U.S., it is a state property. And then when we get to groundwater issues, we have Texas with one set of rules versus New Mexico with another.
Dr. Mumme: The short answer is that you have to bring them in as stakeholders in any kind of watershed-based planning that you are involved in. You cannot leave them out. They are really part of the broader interstate and federal apparatus that is in place. The bad news is that they are a fairly rigid set of structures to work with. So you have to be operating in those frames, but not all of the watersheds fall into such rigid structures. So you have to distinguish between which watersheds you are dealing with. It is clear that the tri-state Rio Grande compact works on a formula basis for apportioning the water between the states, but there are real issues, such as the current or recently resolved court case regarding the silver minnow, that pertain to the flow regime and how those waters are delivered. Any type of watershed process that you are going to think about as sort of a template or model to push the governments towards, does have to have some provision for conflict resolution, which would be the IBWC in that structure. But IBWC could be elaborated under the treaty in terms of working out basin-to-basin some conflict procedure to deal with certain types of problems. that is a really tricky, thorny, potentially divisive issue.
Mexico is now in the process of rethinking its water law. It is not a classic stakeholder model that is being used in Mexico right now. It is much more of a formal model of representation.
Mr. Cibas noted that there are two very different legal systems in these two countries, and he believes that one way of helping to resolve this issue is going to be to start dealing with very complex matters with a long history at a local level, at a very practical level of communities. Once we do that, we might then be able to start deducing various possibilities which may, or may not, conflict with existing laws in one country or the other. But if the members of these communities can communicate with each other, they might be able to persuade those who under the different laws in both countries have the authority to listen to their needs.
Day 2 - February 25, 2004
Planning for Eighth Report
In planning for the Eighth Report, the Board and facilitator David Batson (Chair Dos Santos said he wanted to be more involved in the crafting of the report) reviewed the Board's activities from the previous year.
Mr. Dos Santos discussed how past Board recommendations, particularly from its review of the Border XXI program, were incorporated into Border 2012, adopted in April 2003. The Board evaluated coordination with Consejos and agreed to exchange agendas, meeting notices, minutes of meetings, and drafts of documents when appropriate, and members developed a greater understanding of those similar Mexican boards. Paul Ganster's efforts to promote self-evaluation of the board with the indicators of effectiveness (see below) showed the value of new blood and the changes that come with new membership. Public participation increased in 2003, as did the opportunities for Board members to take informative field trips near meeting sites.
Meetings with the EPA Administrator and the head of the CEQ, as well as visits from other senior officials, Ms. Koerner added, say something about the Board's credibility and increasing clout. She also commended greater participation of Board members, their willingness to allocate some of the resources on their teams for the Seventh Report, and their work planning effective meetings. Ms. Yoshii mentioned the importance of the Board's newsletter.
Challenges and Lessons Learned
Ms. Koerner noted the importance of finding a focus early on for the annual report, so there is less risk of devoting a lot of effort to something that does not end up getting into the report.
With a topic such as water, Ms. Sutley said, she hoped the Board would not feel as if it had to describe issues in exhaustive detail. It was valuable in the Seventh Report to have examples of things people are doing, and to inform Congress and the President of those things that are going on at the border and trying to point out the areas that the Federal Government can be helpful with.
Mr. Ranger wanted to encourage thought of implementation at the state level and coordination with enforcement teams at state, county and city level in order to enhance the impact of the Board's suggestions.
Ms. Chapman felt that the report's consensus can be both a strength and a weakness. In some cases, she said, the NGO perspective might present views that are a little bit more activist-oriented than a lot of the Board is comfortable with, and the report doesn't reflect the complete richness of the different views.
Mr. Walling said keeping up could be a little frustrating and wondered if some benchmarks of where the Board wants to be when in the reports might be helpful, so that missing a meeting or a pair of conference calls would not cause someone to feel lost.
Development of 2004 Roadmap
The Board reviewed its original mission statement and list of principles, and Mr. Batson asked if those visions were still what made sense for the group. In order to provide timely advice, Mr. Ranger recommended establishing a sort of issue or threat matrix that would focus on regions and states and jurisdictions, providing a map of what the problems are, what the imminence of these threats are, so the Board can communicate among themselves, as well as within agencies and with Mexican counterparts. In view of the previous day's speakers, Ms. Rose wondered if the Board's emphasis should take into account the severely reduced federal resources. Many Board members agreed that the Board should look at the allocation of all resources, without letting the federal government off the hook for its allocation of resources and its responsibilities on the border. Mr. Cibas said the private sector should also be held accountable for the externalities of doing business on and across the border.
As goals for the Eighth Report, Board members cited the following: increase resources, give communities working tools, increase results, identify concrete actions, provide benefits and costs, affect institutional arrangements, communicate needs, have a lasting impact, be widely used, identify problem areas, address working with Mexico, promote practical solutions, have input from Mexico, be a unified document, be focused, include an understanding of government focus, and be pragmatic.
The Board discussed whether it would prefer a broad focus or an emphasis on discrete issues. Topics mentioned included a blueprint for binational planning; the need to separate ground and surface water, with a focus on often-neglected groundwater; transborder cooperation mechanisms; the importance of work at the local level; using a bottom-up approach; the chance to build on previous recommendations; and a regional versus a thematic approach. Ms. Sutley suggested a focus on community input, best practices, and outstanding needs. Mr. Dos Santos suggested a look at the IBWC.
Expanding on Ms. Sutley's divisions, Mr. Batson suggested workgroups with thematic focuses: one that dealt with information data issues; one that dealt with institutional issues, including the IBWC issues and the different institutions that are involved and how value could be added by those institutions; and one dealing with the integration issues.
For the data workgroup (John Klein, Dick Walling, Gedi Cibas, Valecia Gavin, Diana Borja): address why data is important, who will use it, binational capability of databases checked, integrating datasets, data inventories in full spectrum, environmental infectious diseases health issues, technical capacity building, standardized testing methods, both QA and QC, include technical advisory components for the data, and public access to data.
For the institutions workgroup (Bob Varady, Arturo Duran, Nancy Sutley, Gedi Cibas, Valecia Gavin, Diana Borja, Jerry Paz): identify border institutions, look at the inventory of resources that currently exist, identify opportunities for collaboration and effective use, coordination across institutions and citizen advisory components, making federal agencies more transparent.
For the workgroup on integration (Dora Alcala, Larry Allen, John Klein, Karen Chapman, Laura Yoshii, Nancy Sutley, Gedi Cibas, Valecia Gavin, Doug Smith): technical assistance to local communities, existing planning groups and entities, where are they most effective, combining watershed and binational principles, what principles seem to work best and be most effective, what kind of a blueprint is there to promote integrated watershed approach, planning to results, communication, measuring and evaluation, how can we use an integrated approach to address water quality and quantity issues.
Items such as community input and environmental justice could be addressed by each group as appropriate.
Planning calls were scheduled for Eighth Report workgroups.
Indicators of Effectiveness
Mr. Ganster: Indicators broke down into quantitative (such as reports issued and meeting attendance) and qualitative—what were the impacts of our reports, what effect did we have at changing perceptions in the public, in Congress, and in the administration. The major problems are that the Board is trying to really serve to enlighten Congress and the administration, and secondarily, the communities that we all come from. Those are things that cannot be measured easily in the short-term. We are talking about changing the way people think and perceive things over the long-term. It is very difficult to establish a cause-effect relationship.
Ms. Koerner updated the Board on the distribution of its Seventh Report, of which 5,000 copies were printed. She also took a count for Round-up readership, from email forwardings to web postings.
Dick Walling announced that this would be his last meeting due to changes in the Office of the Americas and his increased focus on the Middle East.
Post-meeting logistical plans were discussed, and the meeting concluded at 4:04 pm.