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Release Date: 6/13/1996
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, U.S. EPA Region 9, (415) 744-1588 David Bary, U. .S. Region 6, (214) 665-2208

   (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) today announced the release of the draft Border XXI Document, a five-year binational plan which outlines actions to improve environmental conditions along the U.S./Mexico border.

      "Both the U.S. and Mexican governments are committed to this innovative binational effort that brings together diverse U.S./Mexico federal agencies to work cooperatively toward  sustaining economic development while improving the environment and protecting human health," said John Wise, U.S. EPA's Region 9 Deputy Regional Administrator.  "We believe this draft border plan, which lays out our binational priorities for the next five years, will help resolve the environmental problems which affect the health and welfare of everyone who lives along the U.S./Mexico border."

     "The draft border plan plays a critical role in the continuing environmental cooperation between the United States and Mexico," said Allyn M. Davis, U.S. EPA Region 6 Acting Deputy Reginal Administrator.  "This plan builds on the success of previous border environmental plans which has resulted in the tracking of tansboundary shipments of hazardous waste through Haztraks and the recently announced air quality management agreement in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez and Dona Ana County, New Mexico."

     The Border XXI's objectives include increased cooperation among the different governmental agencies operating in the border region, more public involvement, and greater decision-making at the local level reflecting both the community's interests and sound environmental management.

     The plan is an outgrowth of the 1983 La Paz agreement which committed the United States and Mexico to solving border environmental problems excerbated by population growth and unsustainable development practices.  U.S. and Mexican federal, state, and local agencies are working cooperatively on binational workgroups such as air, water, waste, enforcement, pollution prevention, and emergency planning to develop and implement programs to improve the environment.  Three new workgroups have been created to better integrate the border effort by bringing together the expertise of the various agencies involved in environmental, natural resource, and health issues
      The Border XXI program is a binational, interagency program including U.S. EPA, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Secretariat for Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries (SEMARNAP) and   the Mexican Secretariat of Health (SALUD).

     The Border XXI plan targets five geographic regions along the border and recommends expanding air emission monitoring and control programs, building or upgrading wastewater and drinking water systems, improving systems to track the transportation of hazardous wastes, and improving cross-border collaboration  between natural resource and public health entities.

     Three binational public meetings will be held this summer to increase local involvement and provide an opportunity for the communities to voice their opinions on what environmental problems should be dealt with in the border area.  The meetings will be held July 10 in Ciudad-Juarez, Mexico; July 12 in Nogales, Arizona; and July 17 in McAllen, Texas.  Additional outreach efforts will be implemented during the public comment period which begins June 13 and ends July 29, 1996.  The public may also comment on the draft plan by submitting written comments

  EPA San Diego Border Office         EPA El Paso Border Office
  Attn:  Border XXI Comments         Attn:  Border XXI Comments
  610 West Ash St., Suite 703         4050 Rio Bravo,
  San Diego, CA 92101                 Suite 100  
  (619) 235-4765                                 El Paso,TX 79902
                                                 (915) 533-7273

     Internet users may also access and provide comments electronically for the Border plan on U.S. EPA's home page at the
following URL address:  htttp://

     The border area which is approximately 124 miles wide (200 kilometers) stretches 2,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. It encompasses parts of four U.S. states (California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas) and six Mexican states (Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas).