Transboundary Air Quality – U.S./Mexico Border

The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to diverse communities that share history, economic linkages, and the air they breathe. In recognition of these ties, U.S. EPA collaborates with government and community partners in Mexico and the U.S. to improve air quality and public health outcomes on both sides of the border. Since the signing of the 1983 La Paz Agreement on cooperation for the protection of the environment and public health in the border area, the U.S. EPA and Mexico’s Secretariat for Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) have implemented a series of bilateral programs to support this cooperation, including the Border 2020 Program.

With the backing of this bilateral framework, community stakeholders take the lead on developing and implementing projects that align with local air quality priorities and often intersect with related issues such as climate change and environmental justice. Current activities include:

  • In partnership with U.S. EPA, the California Air Resources Board and the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District are developing an air quality website and mobile application that provides public access to real-time local air quality data, air alerts, air quality forecasting, and health impact information on both sides of the Border in the Imperial-Mexicali binational airshed.
  • Since 1996, the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) for Improvement of Air Quality in the El Paso, TX / Juarez, Chihuahua / Doña Ana County, NM air basin has been working to foster cooperation and more effective air pollution policies in the region. In February 2021, the JAC established a first-of-its kind binational fund that will support air quality projects near the U.S.-Mexico border, with a focus on strengthening ambient air monitoring in Ciudad Juárez. The fund, which received seed funding from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, will be managed by the North American Development Bank and will enable private- and public-sector stakeholders to contribute funds towards improving the air quality in the region.

EPA is thankful to its many partners working to improve air quality along the US-Mexico border!