California-Baja California Border Environmental Program
The Border Environmental Program (BEP) is a collaborative effort that includes the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA), other California State Agencies, Baja California, and Tribal Nations located along the border region. To ensure that environmental issues are addressed on a multimedia basis, all Cal/EPA boards, departments and offices actively participate in the BEP. Cal/EPA Border Affairs Unit provides oversight and coordination, and directs border efforts through the BEP.
The mission of the BEP is to work towards a better environment within our shared border by identifying and resolving unique environmental and natural resource challenges, and the resulting public health issues.
This mission is achieved through the use of science and technology, uniform enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, and the cooperation and active participation of the various border communities, California Border Indian Tribal Nations, academia, industry, nongovernmental organizations, and the public.
In the past five years, California has made significant progress towards addressing long-term environmental and public health issues along the California-Mexico border, and has been a leader among U.S. Border States in promoting environmental cooperation with Mexico. California has provided the resources necessary for effective cooperation with Mexico on environmental, natural resources and public health issues and has achieved an effective cooperative relationship with Mexico, based on mutual respect and understanding. A list of accomplishments include:
- In March 2001, California and Mexico signed three historic agreements of cooperation on environmental issues. This is the first time such agreements have been reached by a U.S. border state and the Republic of Mexico. The subjects of the agreements involved the development and implementation of industrial wastewater monitoring and pretreatment along the California - Baja California border, implementation of a “Smog Check” pilot program in Tijuana, and cooperation in the protection of the Sea of Cortez ecosystem.
- Other agreements signed by the State of California include a memorandum of understanding with the Baja California Institute of Public Health to initiate a study of lead in the blood of residents in the border region; an agreement with the San Diego Natural History Museum to promote environmental education, public programs, and research, and a memorandum of understanding with the Baja California Directorate of Ecology to promote sustainable development. Finally an agreement between the States of California, Baja California, and the Republic of Mexico was signed to develop an environmental education program for primary and secondary students.
- California has actively participated in the Border Governors Conference and the meeting of the Environmental Secretaries of the 10 US-Mexico Border States, which are both held on an annual basis. California hosted the 18th U.S.-Mexico Border Governors Conference in Sacramento on June 1 and 2, 2000 and hosted a meeting of the Environmental Secretaries of the 10 U.S.-Mexico Border States in Monterey, California on September 27-28, 2001. Both meetings resulted in significant cross-border agreements and improved communication and cooperation between the US and Mexico. These meetings and resulting agreements further established California as a leader in establishing a strong role for Border States in identifying and resolving border environmental issues.
- California will continue to work with the other nine US-Mexico Border States to develop joint declarations and implement action items of the Environment Work Table. For the Year 2004-2005, the State of California will be the Chair of the Environment Worktable.
- California continues its active participation in U.S.-Mexico environmental regulation and assistance coordination groups such as the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, the Ten States Environmental Secretaries Retreat, the U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
- California has and is providing a wide range of technical assistance in environmental control to the State of Baja California.
The Border Affairs Unit has accomplished specific tasks, projects, and efforts in the areas of: