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Ten Years of Air Quality Improvement in Paso del Norte Area Celebrated

Release Date: 05/25/2006
Contact Information: For more information contact Dave Bary or Cynthia Fanning, 214-665-2200 or

(Dallas, Texas - May 25, 2006) At a binational meeting today of environmental agencies, Ing. Jose Luis Luegue Tamargo, Secretary of Mexico's Secretariat for Environment and Natural Resources, congratulated the Joint Advisory Committee for the Improvement of Air Quality in the Paso del Norte Air Basin (JAC) for its accomplishments and celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Juárez air quality is markedly improved because of the JAC's efforts. Further, El Paso currently measures in compliance with U.S. air quality standards for ozone and carbon monoxide. The JAC has become a model for binational cooperation and many other border communities are adopting its framework and strategies.

"Our successful binational air quality program shows what dedicated local leaders can do when given the right support," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said. "I am honored that EPA has been part of this effort and proud of the JAC's accomplishments. Residents of the Paso del Norte area must be proud of local leaders for their commitment to bring healthier air to their children and families."

Some of the measures the JAC established include vehicle emission reductions through oxygenated gasoline and dedicated commuter lanes at northbound international bridges. Also, many brick-making factories now use cleaner fuels. The JAC now focuses on strengthening air quality monitoring and reporting systems and further reducing diesel emissions and dust from unpaved roads.

Two border areas - the Tijuana/San Diego and Mexicali/Imperial Valley regions - are using an approach similar to the JAC's to improve air quality. The U.S.-Mexico environmental program, Border 2012, is following the JAC's framework to help border communities and environmental authorities identify priorities. Paso del Norte residents and other border communities are looking at the JAC model for managing other binational issues, such as water quality, ecosystem management, environmental health and transportation infrastructure.

On May 7, 1996, the United States and Mexico signed an unprecedented agreement that defined and recognized the international Paso del Norte air basin and created the JAC. The JAC includes business leaders, air quality experts, academicians, environmentalists, and public health officials working together to solve air pollution problems in the region and develop a comprehensive framework to manage the common international airshed and improve air quality.

More information about the JAC is at More information about the Border 2012 program is at


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