Economic Development and Environmental Protection in Latin America

By Joseph S. Tulchin | Go to book overview

epidemiological evidence regarding long-term effects and now also has proven to be an expensive alternative to gasoline. It should receive easy credit terms as a priority investment.

Richard Nuccio pointed out that the debtor countries have reduced public spending significantly. President Salinas recently told a joint session of Congress that when Mexico receives debt relief, it will spend a significant amount on environmental concerns.This was a clear statement of priorities and explanation of where funding will come from. Although the World Bank and the IMF are sensitive to environmental issues, future variations in the Baker and Brady plans need to be more sensitive to the need to increase public sector spending in selected areas, particularly the environmental sector.Even in the United States it is agreed that the state has a role in protecting the health of its citizens, which includes protecting the environment in which they live. The vast sums necessary for environmental protection must come from debt relief because the state will be responsible for funding environmental protection programs, Nuccio concluded.

Cross-border air pollution was of interest to another participant. Licenciado Menéndez was asked if petroleum companies will be allowed to relocate in Baja California to avoid US air emissions regulations. Would Mexico welcome this new investment or would environmental considerations take precedence, the speaker asked.She also reminded Menéndez that air pollutants blow north from Tijuana to San Diego. Menéndez reminded the session that he works for the government of Mexico City and not the federal government of Mexico.Furthermore, the prevailing winds blow south from San Diego during the day and north only at night, so Mexico is sending clean air to the United States.The brightest part of US-Mexican relations, he continued, is border pollution control. Mexico and the United States have concluded agreements concerning joint training and awareness programs for the maquiladoras on Mexican pollution legislation.These sessions are held in conjunction with the US Environmental Protection Agency.Additionally, equal emissions standards are found on both sides of the border. Although in the past companies may have been able to escape US regulations in Mexico, this will no longer be possible.

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