Paisano Valley Water Project In El Paso. (William Blackburn/

Bi-national projects lead to health benefits for border residents

EL PASO — The bi-national project Border 2012 aims to improve the environment of the border region and the health of nearly 12 million people through a partnership between the United States and México. The goals of Border 2012 are to reduce water contamination, reduce air pollution, reduce land contamination, improve environmental health, and emergency preparedness and response. Paving miles of highways in Sonora, México using asphalt pavement will reduce particulate matter in the air that leads to respiratory diseases. Protecting and preserving the U.S.-México border region by identifying, developing, implementing and overseeing these environmental infrastructure projects is the job of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) headquartered in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Since 2005 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has authorized the BECC to manage $7.4 million for 144 Border 2012 projects.

Cleaning ASARCO’s Pollution Legacy Raises Concerns Among Environmental Advocates

EL PASO— Students and citizens of this border city met Thursday at the University of Texas at El Paso to find ways to clean up and reclaim the land severely polluted by the century-old ASARCO copper-smelter. “There’s over 75 ft. of lead laden slag right on this site and about 230 million cubic ft. of water in a plume, and so we’ve got to clean that stuff up and I think that’s the major concern most people have here,” said Senator Eliot Shapleigh. The main speakers at the UTEP Student Government Association event included Senator Shapleigh and Custodial Trustee Robert Puga.