The new program, Border 2012, focuses on decreasing air, water, waste and soil pollution and lowering the risks of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.
The signing of the plan and the launching of the program took place in Tijuana, Baja California Norte. Fisher and Arriaga signed the framework document and presided over the launching of the new cooperative plan.
"Border 2012 further advances two decades of significant federal, state and local achievements in protecting the environment and public health on both sides of the border," said Fisher. "We are excited by the prospect that the priorities we have set, and the actions we will take, will be based on input from local communities and organizations. We are convinced that this approach will keep us focused and greatly enhance our chances of success."
Arriaga said the program has made both countries more aware of the issues they have in common, "as well as the challenges we face jointly, instead of our differences. The geography and resources that we share are the element that validates our friendship and binds our destinies."
SEMARNAT Secretary Victor Lichtinger and EPA Administrator Christie Whitman called for the development of the new border plan two years ago after the successful conclusion of the Border XXI program. The 10 border region states involved in the new program are Baja California Norte, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas in Mexico and California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas in the United States.
Key elements of the new program include:
- The inclusion of the 10 U.S. and Mexico border states and U.S. tribes as partners in developing and implementing the program.
- A new organizational structure focusing on regional workgroups to facilitate regional-level and local-level planning and priority setting.
- A focus on goals and objectives bases on measurable environmental and public health outcomes.