EPA marks signing of final U.S.-Mexico ‘sister city’ agreement
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will join the mayors of El Paso, Texas; Sunland Park, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, at the signing of the final U.S.-Mexico “sister city” agreement for emergency response today in El Paso.
With the signing, EPA will achieve its goal of completing cooperative contingency plans for all 14 sets of sister cities along the border. The agreements call for police, fire, paramedics and other emergency responders from both sides of the border to respond quickly to large fires, dangerous chemical spills and other emergencies.
“Healthy borders make for happy neighbors,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Through these Sister City agreements, we are protecting residents on both sides of the border by enhancing our ability to prevent and respond to environmental emergencies. By working together, the U.S. and Mexico are improving the lives of generations of border neighbors.”
To ensure the success of the agreements, communities conduct joint training, drills and emergency communication planning. El Paso, Sunland Park and Ciudad Juarez plan to conduct an emergency notification drill in July. The contingency plans also address preparedness issues, including hazard identification, pollution prevention and risk reduction.
The sister city agreements are part of EPA’s Border 2012 program. Border 2012 is a 10-year, binational cooperative effort aimed at protecting the public health and environment of the approximately 12 million residents who live along the 2,000-mile U.S-Mexico border. Sister city contingency plans are key to responding to environmental threats within this region.
The first sister city emergency plan was signed in 1997 between Brownsville, Texas, and its neighboring city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
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