Leaders of Presidio, Ojinaga Discuss Environmental Projects in Border 2020 Program

Leaders of Presidio, Ojinaga Discuss Environmental Projects in Border 2020 Program

PRESIDIO, TX (KWES) - Leaders from both sides of the border gathered on Monday in Presidio to discuss environmental updates and concerns.

It's called the Border 2020 Program.

This Border 2020 Program stems from the Border 2012 Environmental Program between the U.S. and Mexico, addressing environmental and public health problems in the border region.

"It's just a way for the EPA to be involved in the community affairs and to do what they can to keep our environment as clean as possible," said John Ferguson, Mayor of the City of Presidio.

The goals of the program include reducing air pollution, improving access to clean and safe water and promoting waste management and clean sites.

Through the EPA, the City of Ojinaga received an air quality monitor, which officials say is working effectively.

Ojinaga is also looking to transfer tire management operations to Chihuahua for environmental reasons and hoping for funds to help build a new walking trail.

Representatives from Energy Transfer Partners, the contractor for the Trans Pecos Pipeline, were also in attendance offering their support for these projects. They declined a one-on-one interview but made a brief presentation on the pipeline's benefit internationally.

"We're providing the county to drop in free taps that Energy Transfer's installing for them to take natural gas off the pipeline. We're not giving away the gas, of course, but we're providing the taps," said Rick Smith, Vice President of Engineering for Energy Transfer Partners during the presentation.

They say the Trans Pecos Pipeline will provide clean-burning natural gas down to the border and will help with the air quality of the Big Bend.

"Mexico needs the energy, so we understand the concerns that people have but we also see it as a good thing for a lot of people," said Ferguson.

Ojinaga officials say their mayor has also been in contact with Energy Transfer on a daily basis for updates.

"There is a good understanding between both parties. They have spoken about all of the different stages and how much this will cost. The mayor will always be briefed first-hand about new project developments," said Manuel Octavio Adame Baeza, Director of Urban and Ecological Development in Ojinaga.

"The positive outcomes I think will justify the project in the end," said Ferguson.