California-Mexico Air Monitoring Network Transferred from California to Mexico
LOS ANGELES - At a ceremony held today in Tijuana, Mexico, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency transferred ownership and operation of all air sampling equipment from the California Mexico Air Monitoring Network to the Secretariat of Environmental Protection for the state of Baja California, Mexico.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Secretariat of Environmental Protection for the State of Baja California will assume operation of the air monitoring network with the continued technical support of the EPA, CalEPA, the Mexican National Institute of Ecology and the Mexican Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources.
Air quality data from the Baja California air sampling stations can be used to target efforts to improve air quality and public health.
“The transfer of air monitoring equipment underscores the EPA’s commitment to provide technical support to Mexico and the border states as they develop their air pollution control programs,” said Wayne Nastri, Regional Administrator, EPA Region 9. “Today’s agreement reflects the strong binational partnership that protects the environment along the US-Mexico border region.”
Since 1995 the California Air Resources Board (ARB), part of Cal/EPA, has managed the California-Mexico Air Monitoring Network with funding from the EPA. The program collects air quality data for ozone, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide and meteorological parameters. The real-time data has helped to develop successful environmental policies to improve air quality in the Tijuana/San Diego and Mexicali/Imperial Valley regions.
“The successful transfer of the monitoring equipment done here today will enhance the availability of air quality data to United States and Mexican authorities, allowing for a better understanding of the causes and severity of air pollution in the border region,” said Ricardo Martinez, Assistant Secretary for Border Affairs for Cal/EPA. Martinez is responsible for managing California’s Border Environmental Program. “We will be able to develop effective air pollution reduction programs, and measure progress toward our air quality goals.”
The Cal/EPA Border Affairs Unit, along with ARB, will serve as the primary point of contact in the United States for all activities related to this new arrangement. The ARB will also serve as a technical liaison with participating agencies.
Air sampling equipment used to collect air quality data for ozone, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide and meteorological instruments are currently distributed in 13 stations throughout Tijuana, Playas de Rosarito, Tecate and Mexicali.
“We have had a very productive relationship with EPA thru the Border 2012 Program. Monitoring air quality in the Baja border region is one of the issues we have successfully worked on together. Today we not only celebrate the transfer of the air monitoring network, but also recognize the hard work and dedication from all parties involved,” said Enrique Villegas, Secretary of the Baja California State Environmental Agency. “We are committed to continuing to work together on matters that are of great concern for both our countries such as air quality along our common border.”
“Air sampling is needed to preserve, control, and mitigate the harmful effects caused by air pollution upon the people and environment of Baja California,” said Ana Maria Contreras Vigil, Director, Office of Air Quality, SEMARNAT. “With this transfer of air sampling equipment by Cal/EPA and the EPA, SEMARNAT pledges to continue improving border air quality.”
In addition to gathering important air quality information for new environmental policies, the real-time data will continue allowing citizens and local school officials to take precautions against exposure to unhealthy air.
Today’s transfer reflects the cooperation of multiple local, state and federal agencies from the U.S. and Mexico, including the EPA, Cal/EPA, SEMARNAT, Mexican National Institute of Ecology, and the Secretariat for Environmental Protection for the state of Baja California, Mexico. The agreement will continue the exchange of information related to air quality in Tijuana/San Diego and Mexicali/Imperial Valley regions.
Border area residents can visit http://aire.bajacalifornia.gob.mx, a real time air quality website that displays air quality and health information for Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito, and Mexicali, to determine what precautions to take in response to air conditions. The website was developed by the EPA and Baja California’s Secretariat for Environmental Protection.
Independent of the transfer, air quality data from air monitoring stations in the US will continue to be reported to the EPA’s Air Quality System database and are available online through our real-time website: http://www.epa.gov/oar/data/
These environmental initiatives are part of the binational Border 2012 program. Through the Border 2012 program, the U.S., Mexico, and area tribes are working together to improve public health and the environment along the 2,000-mile border region, home to approximately 12 million people. Recent success stories include the cleanup of more than two million waste tires, improved bio-terrorism response training, and a new drinking water system. For more information on the Border 2012 program, please visit: http://epa.gov/border2012/index.htm
Cal/EPA’s Border Environmental Program works towards an improved environment within the border region, with the cooperation of local tribes, academics, industry, and elected officials. Air monitoring is one of several issues the Program addresses. Collection of air monitoring data is crucial in the development of sound policies that aim to improve air quality in our shared air basins.
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