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Binational Comission Meeting on Border Affairs Discussion of Border 2012, Mexico City, Mexico

Talking Points for Governor Christine Todd Whitman
Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Binational Commission Meeting on Border Affairs
Discussion of Border 2012
Mexico City, Mexico

November 26, 2002

Secretary Lichtinger and other distinguished guests, I = d like to begin our discussion of environmental issues by addressing an important new initiative between the United States and Mexico B Border 2012.

At EPA, we are very proud of the strong relationship we have developed with SEMARNAT and other Mexican partners since our countries signed the La Paz Agreement in 1983.

That partnership helped lay the foundation for the new Border 2012 program.

Building upon the success of our previous binational effort B Border XXI (Border Twenty-One) B we believe that Border 2012 will allow us to take the next step in improving environmental conditions for citizens on both sides of the border and foster sustainable development throughout the entire border region.

This new ten-year plan will guide environmental cooperation by emphasizing a bottom- up regional approach that will more fully involve local decision makers in order to assure that the priorities we set are in line with the environmental issues that are of greatest concern to local communities.

Already, we have seen greater participation among border states and U.S. tribal governments in the development of this plan, and we have recently completed a sixty day process of binational meetings that provided valuable input from both U.S. and Mexican citizens.

Specifically, Border 2012 will strive to meet five border wide goals that focus on improving air and water quality, decreasing land pollution, and reducing exposure to pesticides and chemicals.

Our two governments are working together to draft objectives for each goal that focus on meaningful environmental and public health outcomes. This will allow us to measure environmental progress and make effective resource decisions.

As we work to finalize the Border 2012 plan by early 2003, we will continue to work together with our federal, state, and local partners towards a finished project that will promote improved environmental quality and safeguard public health for the citizens of our great nations.

Thank you.