By: Gary Martin
WASHINGTON — An eight-year environmental pact to reduce air, water and chemical pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border will be signed by dignitaries from both countries, Environmental Protection Agency officials said Tuesday.
The pact, "Border 2020: U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program," will be officially unveiled by EPA Director Lisa Jackson and Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, Mexico's secretary of environmental and natural resources, at a Wednesday news conference in Tijuana.
The signing of the pact was applauded by U.S. officials who have worked over a year to develop the agreement.
"We must ensure we provide a clean, safe and healthy environment to people on both sides of the border," said Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.
Officials from all 10 U.S. and Mexican states sharing the 1,969-mile international border, as well as the leaders from indigenous tribes, took part in developing the environmental plan, an EPA spokeswoman said.
The eight-year program is a bi-national agreement that calls for significant reductions in air and water pollution, and improvements in children's health, in the border region, according to the EPA.