Who We Are
The Office of Border Environmental Protection (OBEP) is located at ADEQ's Tucson Southern Regional Office and is a specialized branch of the ADEQ Director's Office that focuses on the Arizona border region across the boundary from the Mexican state of Sonora. OBEP's emphasis is on cross-border or transboundary 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 addressing environmental issues along the U.S.-Mexico border region. For purposes of projects or activities undertaken by OBEP, this area is defined in the 1983 La Paz Agreement as a 100 kilometer (62.5 mile) buffer zone on either side of the international boundary between the United States and Mexico.
The mission of the Office of Border Environmental Protection is to protect public health and the environment in Arizona border communities by facilitating efforts that address environmental problems with a transboundary link and enhancing collaboration with other border-focused programs.
Arizona Border Trash
Arizona-Mexico International Green Organization or AMIGO
The Arizona-Mexico International Green Organization or AMIGO is a binational partnership for pollution prevention which is sponsored by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). This program creates partnerships leading to voluntary pollution prevention activities among industries located in the Arizona-Sonora border region. AMIGO brings industries in Arizona and Mexico together to share information and technologies that reduce waste and pollution while increasing profits, worker safety, and environmental health.
AMIGO Environmental Annual Award
The AMIGO Environmental Award was established to recognize partners who demonstrate leadership in implementing and supporting the goals of pollution prevention to reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous waste and the use of toxic substances in the Arizona-Sonora border region. There are two award categories - process improvements and pollution prevention promotion. There are five evaluation criteria: environmental benefits, economic benefits, employee and community involvement, management commitment, and pollution prevention hierarchy, which highlights disposal as the least favored option. The evaluation committee selects award recipients and is comprised of one representative from each of the following agencies: ADEQ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Commission of Ecology and Sustainable Development for the state of Sonora (CEDES), and the Sonora Delegation Office of Mexico's Federal Attorney General for the Environment (PROFEPA).
The governors of Arizona and Sonora present the annual award to the selected recipients during the fall plenary session of the Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) . The AMC is a public-private partnership whose mission is to improve the well-being and quality of life for residents of Arizona by promoting a strong, cooperative cross-border relationship.
Companies such as Bose, Motorola, Master Lock, Chamberlain, Becton-Dickinson, Alcatel-Lucent, and the Association of Environmental Professionals of Sonora have spearheaded efforts to foster pollution prevention both within their industrial processes and in their communities. Some specific accomplishments by individual industries include pollution prevention seminars and environmental management systems training for over 3,500 employees, reducing the generation of paint waste by up to 1,700 gallons a year, eliminating lead emissions by replacing lead solder with an aqueous-based solder solution, and reducing the annual amount of waste sent to the landfill by 7,300 pounds.
Also, several of these companies partnered with municipal and academic institutions, and community volunteers to construct a fibercrete home. On Oct. 17, 2008, a dedication ceremony was held to present the first fibercrete home in Nogales, Sonora to the new owners, a single mother and her three children. Fibercrete, or papercrete, is a construction material that uses less concrete and sand as building components when mixed in with shredded paper to form blocks. This alternative building material reduces the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling because of its insulating nature, which reduces the need to burn wood for heating during the winter. This is important because a winter inversion layer affects air quality on both sides of the border. This project reduced the amount of paper and cardboard waste going to the local landfill by eight tons. Participants estimate that they saved 100 trees in the construction process. This number of trees can sequester 1,200 lbs. of carbon dioxide and generate 1,800 lbs. of oxygen annually.
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The U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program (Border 2020) is a collaborative effort between the United States and Mexico to improve the environment and protect the health of the nearly 12 million people living along the border. The binational program focuses on cleaning the air, providing safe drinking water, reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous waste, and ensuring emergency preparedness along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Border 2020 is a results-oriented program that takes a "bottom-up" approach to addressing the environmental and public health needs of the border region. Issues and projects are identified and implemented at the local level. The program encourages stakeholder involvement through a variety of opportunities, and provides funding for projects that meet the objectives of the program. As part of its mission, the ADEQ-OBEP office supports EPA Border 2020 projects and goals.
Links to Border 2020
For general information:
For Arizona/Sonora information: