SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded $389,155 in grants to fund seven environmental projects in Arizona and Sonora, along the U.S.-Mexico border. The projects are designed to reduce emissions and wait times at ports of entry, increase waste diversion and composting and improve emergency response capacity. The funds will be matched by an additional $183,630 from the recipient organizations.
EPA Administrator, Scott Pruit, said, “These grants will fund projects designed to help mitigate health and environmental risks, advance economic development, and provide clean water and air for families living in the region,”
The University of Arizona Compost Kats will receive $91,519 to develop, in collaboration with Santa Cruz County, the Santa Cruz County Composting Center. The center is expected to compost 3,000 tons, or 38% of the total waste produced each year, diverting a valuable organic resource from the Rio Rico landfill. In its first 15 months, the center will produce 9,000 cubic yards of compost for use on farms, gardens, and rangelands on both sides of the border.
Arizona State University will receive $84,374 to help improve emergency response capabilities. The funding will help ASU develop first-time binational hazardous materials training resources, which will be used during emergency simulation exercises with industry representatives, first responders and local emergency management departments.
The North American Research Partnership will receive $83,625 to evaluate the relationship of reduced wait times at the Unified Cargo Processing (UCP) facility to particulate matter emissions and associated health impacts at the Nogales-Mariposa port of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at this port of entry conduct joint inspections with their Mexican counterparts saving time, resources and reducing idling emissions from shipments of cargo destined for the U.S.
An additional $129,637 will be awarded to projects to identify transboundary contaminants in the Santa Cruz River and the Nogales Wash. The projects include installation of green infrastructure, increased use of renewable energy and programs to reduce illegal dumping.
The funds were awarded in partnership with the North American Development Bank under the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 environmental program. The projects selected address the goals of the Border 2020 Program, a binational effort to protect human health and the environment in the U.S.-Mexico border region.