Air pollution in the border region is high on the agenda in the EPA’s latest report from its Good Neighbor Environmental Board which advises Washington on environmental protection in the region.

It recommends efforts are made to tackle congestion at border posts to reduce emissions from idling vehicles, that the authorities use new and emerging cleaner technologies for their own fleets and encourage private fleets that regularly cross between the two countries to do the same.

The report also recommends people try to find alternatives to making journeys in cars on their own and efforts should me made to encourage public transportation, car-sharing, cycling and walking in border cities so that fewer people will drive alone, reducing motor vehicle trips and the emissions of pollutants.

The report also claims sacred and cultural sites of native Americans are being damaged as illegal immigrants attempt to cross the border within the boundaries of areas managed by tribal governments.

It argues for more security in these areas to reduce the impact on these sites and slow the influx of economic migrants.

The findings of the report will be considered by Washington and should help policy development.

“Pollution knows no political boundaries,” said Stephen L Johnson, EPA administrator.

“Together, Mexico and the US are reaching across our shared border to build a cleaner, safer environment.

“The Good Neighbor Environmental Board provides Congress, EPA, and the entire Bush Administration the advice we need to continue to improve the health and the environment of our border communities.”

“It is helping them by providing this practical how-to guide on making the air clean while keeping trucks moving across the border, and safeguarding the fragile cultural heritage of Native Americans to pass on to future generations.”

Chairman of the GNEB Paul Ganster said: “The Board’s recommendations reflect its continued call for action from strong US-Mexico border partnerships, equipped with adequate resources, that span sectors and geographic boundaries.”

“Low sulphur diesel fuel, emerging technologies, more involvement with tribal governments, and partnerships with border security agencies are just a few examples of the tools we should be using.”

By Sam Bond

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