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Substantial agreements reached at the 23rd Border Legislative Conference

Posted on April 30, 2011

Substantial agreements reached at the 23rd Border Legislative Conference

April 16 marked the closure of the 23rd Border Legislative Conference, a binational coordination mechanism that has been meeting twice a year for more than eleven years now. The conference was attended by legislators from nine of the ten U.S.-Mexico border states.

As part of their activities during this meeting that took place in Las Cruces, New Mexico on April 14-16, legislators focused on the issues of renewable energy opportunities along this dynamic region that represents the world’s fourth largest economy, and the fight against human trafficking. The meeting was chaired by Coahuila State Representative Ramiro Flores, and New Mexico Congressman Andy Nuñez acting as Vice-Chair.

Congressman Silvestre Reyes presented the legislatives initiatives related to the improvement of border crossings.The closure of the Border Legislative Conference was attended by Congressman Silvestre Reyes, who presented the efforts currently made in the U.S. Congress to improve border crossings. Also present at the ceremony was New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce.

A significant aspect of this three-day event was the meeting of the Environment and Energy Work Tables that are part of this Conference and the Border Governors Conference. This allowed legislators to receive relevant information about the work being done in the border to improve the environment and promote renewable energy. One of the topics discussed was the issue of scrap tires. Legislators recognized this as a complex challenge that requires urgent attention, and in this regard, they agreed to consider the recommendations issued in the “Assessing scrap Tire Legislation in the U.S.-Mexico Border” report presented by the University of Arizona’s North American Center for Transborder Studies.

On April 15th, the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) participated in the sessions of the Energy and Environment work tables, represented by Deputy General Manager Jose Mario Sanchez Soledad, accompanied by Mario Vazquez and Renata Manning. Mr. Sanchez presented a paper on Obstacles and Opportunities for Renewable Energy.

Governor Martinez and Deputy General Manager Sanchez Soledad.Incidentally, the April 15th session was attended by New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who pointed out the need for a two-way dialogue to address issues and reach important decisions that foster economic development on both sides of the border. Her administration acknowledges this, and in this regard, she said that one of her priorities is the promotion of trade between the two countries. “We share opportunities and challenges,” the Governor said, hence the importance of the deliberations held by border legislators within this framework and the Border Governors Conference.

In his participation, Jose Mario Sanchez Soledad highlighted the role of the BECC in the field of renewable energy, strengthening the cooperation of border stakeholders by assisting them in the coordination of programs and projects, in strategic planning to identify needs within the region, and by supporting state efforts to address climate change with adaptation and mitigation actions that promote, among others, energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources.

The BECC official highlighted that there are great opportunities in this field, thanks to a great amount of solar radiation and the presence of large areas with potential for the use of wind energy. Additionally, as discussed in the meeting, there is a great economic dynamism in the region that pushes towards greater power generation capacity. Moreover, “we have a region with considerable potential to use carbon credits, generous U.S. grants to stimulate this sector, and efforts to streamline the use of energy in Mexico’s water utilities,” the Deputy General Manager said.

Sanchez Soledad also reported that the BECC is working on the Mexican side on climate change strategies and the development of State Climate Action Plans (SCAP), in coordination with state governments, the National Institute of Ecology, the Secretariat of the Environment and National Resources, the National Water Commission, and Border 2012. Funding sources for the development of these projects have been identified as part of the efforts. In this regard, he said, the BECC is working to develop a solar energy project for the Los Alisos Wastewater Treatment Plant recently certified by the BECC in Nogales, Sonora; a border green housing program; a solar park in Tucson, Arizona; a solar project in Imperial Valley, California; and a wind project in Los Vergeles, Tamaulipas.




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