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Officials Meet To Address Border Environmental Health

Aired 8/8/12 on KPBS News.

EPA director Lisa Jackson joined her Mexican counterpart to commit to find bi-national solutions to environmental hazards along the U.S.-Mexico border.

— Officials from both sides of the border met in Tijuana today and committed to working together to improve the region’s environmental health.

The two-day summit includes American and Mexican policymakers, researchers and environmental activists.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson joined her Mexican counterpart, Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada, to sign on to a program called Border 2020. It commits both countries to address environmental hazards that plague the U.S.-Mexico border, including toxic waste produced by manufacturing plants, diesel trucks that pollute neighborhood air and toxins that wash into rivers, streams and wells.

Diane Takvorian is director of the Environmental Health Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes healthy neighborhoods in San Diego and Tijuana. Her group has been trying to stop the ongoing channelization of a river that runs through a poor Tijuana neighborhood.

“They’re pouring concrete rather than restoring the waterway to its natural beauty and to its natural filtration process into being a green space for the community and a resource community,” she said.

The Border 2020 program commits government agencies to work with private groups to identify and solve environmental issues, which is why Takvorian showed up to Wednesday’s event.

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