The ADEQ Office of Border Environmental Protection (OBEP) focuses on transboundary or cross-border issues that impact Arizona's environment and its citizens. This entails working in a binational and bicultural setting to facilitate efforts aimed at improving air quality, waste management and water quality conditions in Arizona border communities. These efforts are further supported through ADEQ's collaboration with other organizations and programs. The primary ones include the U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Program administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Mexico's Secretary for the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Arizona-Mexico Commission administered by the State of Arizona and the State of Sonora, and the Border Governors Conference (BGC), which addresses many issues affecting states on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.
Bi-national Outreach Efforts
OBEP and CEH have joined efforts to increase education and outreach on environmental health through crosscutting media activities. One of the most successful outreach activities has been the Ambos Nogales Clean Air Calendar. The Clean Air Calendar features bi-national drawings which perceive the current environment within the Ambos Nogales region. All the drawings are collected from local participating schools with expert tips on alternative ways to improve the environment within the region. What started out as a simple outreach tool created to educate and raise awareness on air issues within the Ambos Nogales region and has turned into a product frequently requested throughout the Arizona-Sonora border region. Since its inception in 2001, over 100,000 calendars have been produced, featuring over 100 drawings of 120 recruited schools who have continually participated across the Arizona-Sonora border.
This outreach tool was modeled in the Yuma/San Luis region. Working with the Regional Center for Border Health in Somerton, Arizona, a drawing contest is also conducted within the local communities to develop and publish the Yuma/San Luis Clean Air Calendar. This effort will be further enhanced by working with various partners in the Yuma Asthma Coalition to implement an air quality flag program. Using wind forecasts, flags will be flown at strategically located sites in the area that will indicate potential air quality conditions associated with dust.
Both OBEP and CEH continue to collaborate on crosscutting media activities ranging from public service announcements to environmental workshops. As the environment continues to be an ever-growing concern, new outreach efforts will focus on educating the public about current environmental issues affecting Arizona border communities.
Another project OBEP implemented focused on children's environmental health and air quality is the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District (SCVUSD) School Bus Biodiesel Retrofitting Project.
In 2003 the ADEQ established a policy that promotes communication with tribal nations and the provision of technical advice and assistance upon request by a tribal community. In addition, the agency's Tribal Government Policy supports the goal of meaningful consultation by stating that, "ADEQ will provide early notification to Tribes about decisions that may affect them". The CEH program is based on outreach and technical support where needed. As part of its mission the CEH program will provide assistance to any of Arizona's 21 federally recognized tribes as needed. In recognition of the government to government status of tribes, this assistance and cooperation can be provided in conjunction with the U.S. EPA. The ADEQ encourages Tribes to contact the Office of CEH for advice and support on issues impacting tribal children.
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
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