NAFTA in Transition

By Stephen J. Randall; Herman W. Konrad | Go to book overview

Alan Sweedler Department of PhysicsSan Diego State University


15
Energy and Environment in the
United States-Mexico Border Region1

INTRODUCTION: BORDERS AND BORDER REGIONS

This chapter analyzes energy and related environmental issues in the United States-Mexico border region, with a particular focus on the California-BajaCalifornia section of the border. Before discussing in detail the energy and environmental situation on the border, it will be helpful to give a brief discussion about borders and border regions in general.

The border region separating two states has traditionally served to demarcate the physical limits of the nation-state. The region was seen as politically, economically and socially peripheral to the main activities of the country, which generally took place far from the border zones. Border regions tended to be sparsely populated and for the most part undeveloped. Moreover, many border regions were militarized and seen as the first line of defense against would-be aggressors.

Since the end of World War II, however, some border regions have emerged as vibrant areas of economic growth and have served as constructive elements in relations between the nations that share the border region. A few examples of these areas are the border region between France and Germany, between the Nordic countries, and some portions of the borders separating the United States and Canada and the United States and Mexico.2

____________________
1
The author would like to acknowledge Patricia Bennett for assistance in obtaining energy-related information in Mexico and Baja California. Steve Sachs from SANDAG was also very helpful in developing much of the energy data for San Diego.
2
For a good description of border regions in the pre- 1950 and 1950-1990 periods see Lawrence A. Herzog, "Changing Boundaries in the Americas", in Lawrence A. Herzog, ed., Changing Boundaries in the Americas, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1992, pp. 4-7.

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