Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossoms

U.S.-Mexico Border Plan

The United States and Mexico on April 4 finalized a 10-year cooperative plan for protecting public health and the environment in the 2,000-mile border region that is home to nearly 12 million people. Border 2012 will focus on decreasing air, water, waste, and soil pollution and lowering the risks of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals. Ten border states – California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas on the north and Norte, Sonora, Chihuahua, Couhuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas on the south – were included as partners in developing and implementing the program. Key elements include a new organizational structure focusing on regional work groups to facilitate region-level and local planning and priority setting, and a focus on goals and objective bases on measurable environmental and public health outcomes.

The news could not come at a better time for lovers of Big Bend National Park, which for the first time in the part three years was not on the list of most endangered national parks published by the National Parks Conservation Association. In a recent article, Bill Hanna of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the parks’ 118-mile international boundary may soon become a war zone, as drug and illegal alien smugglers move their operations from areas along the U.S.-Mexico border where law enforcement is more highly emphasized. From Hanna’s reporting, the only law enforcement in the Big Bend area seems to be the closing of three long-used unofficial crossings between border towns (including Boquillas).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to release in June the results of the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational Study, but preliminary drafts indicate that the pollution that causes hazy conditions is coming from a wide variety of sources, from coal-burning power plants in northern Mexico and the American Midwest to industrial operations in east Texas and perhaps even Iraqi oil fires set by Saddam Hussein.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Environmental Insider News

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group